Reports: ‘Livid’ Sabres thought they had Babcock

MLSE President Tim Leiweke talks about his pride for Brendan Shanahan, who he says with the Babcock signing proved he’s a great president.

Another disappointing day for Buffalo Sabres supporters.

While fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs are suddenly optimistic about the future of their hockey club, the feeling is a little different when you drive two hours south on the QEW.

Upon learning that the Maple Leafs had won the Mike Babcock sweepstakes Wednesday — inking the free agent to an eight-year, $50-million deal — the Sabres were not happy.

Remember, this is a team that finished in 30th place yet lost April’s NHL draft lottery (i.e., Connor McDavid) to the Edmonton Oilers.

Multiple Buffalo reporters tweeted, citing anonymous sources, that the Sabres believed they had a deal in principle with Babcock for similar money and term, perhaps even more term. On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that Babcock and the Sabres were in the thick of contract negotiations.

Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland told reporters his team was not willing to offer an extension longer than five years.

In the words of Tim Graham of the Buffalo News, the Sabres were “livid” to watch Babcock sign with their rivals to the north:

Babcock will be introduced as head coach of the Maple Leafs Thursday at 11 a.m. ET.

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