New Sabres GM Jason Botterill will use Penguins’ blueprint to build Buffalo

New Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill made a clear impression during his opening news conference that he has a fresh plan for the organization: instilling principles he learned from one the NHL’s top teams to lift up one of the league’s doormats.

The Sabres hired Botterill on Thursday to lead a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs in six years, the second-longest active drought, ahead of only the Hurricanes and their eight seasons seasons without a playoff berth.

Botterill made it clear he isn’t coming into Buffalo to pick up where recently fired GM Tim Murray left off. He wants to make changes in how this team is built, from top to bottom, to help get the franchise out of the mud. Botterill played for the Sabres from 2002-05, and knows what kind of fan base he’s walking into.

Encouraged by Selanne, Kariya left the door open to reintegrating himself into hockey if the right offer comes along. In fact, Selanne said he has made it one of my missions.

I know that he can make a big difference, Selanne said.

Just another assist from an old pal.

To be going in with Teemu, ?I wouldn’t be getting this call if I didn’t get the opportunity to play with him, Kariya said. He made me a better player, a better person and I appreciate everything he did for me off the ice as well as on.

That friendship will come full circle in November when the two are formally enshrined in Toronto.

Now that their careers are officially conjoined forever, Selanne joked they might as well plane-pool if Kariya footed the bill to get there. ?As the movie goes, Ducks always fly together, after all.

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