One of the hot button topics for the Buffalo Sabres this summer, aside from the drafting of Jack Eichel, was the acquisition, signing and ultimate arrest of center Ryan O’Reilly.
O’Reilly signed the richest contract in Sabres franchise history back in July. Then, just days later, O’Reilly was arrested in Ontario for allegedly driving while impaired as well as failing to remain at the scene of an accident.
In his first meeting with the media since the arrest, Sabres general manager Tim Murray gave his thoughts on the matter, stating that he wasn’t surprised or disappointed at the fact that the case still hasn’t been settled after two court dates.
“No. That’s what we do in Canada,” he said. “We remand and remand and remand; lawyers get paid. As long as the end result is what he believes is the truth to be and what we’ve been told…would it have been better if it ended on August 10 or today? Maybe. But as long as it’s done right versus done in a speedy fashion, I’m fine with it.”
The 24-year old O’Reilly is expected to be a major piece to the rebuilding Sabres puzzle. So much so that new head coach Dan Bylsma stated back when he was first hired that O’Reilly was penciled in as the team’s number one center to start the year.
But, when a mistake as large as the one O’Reilly made in July happens, disappointment and potential punishment is sure to come into the mind of everyone involved. And though he was upset with what happened, Murray made sure it was known that no one was as upset about the situation than O’Reilly himself.
“I think he was as disappointed as any of us,” he said. “Obviously we were disappointed here; our fans were disappointed, but he was legitimately distraught over it. He made some mistakes that he’s owned up to with us.
“He’ll have his day in court, and hopefully it gets resolved to the point where it doesn’t affect is travel or his ability to play with us. I’m confident that that will be the case.”
The Sabres open up training camp next week. Their first preseason game takes place on Monday, September 21 against the Minnesota Wild.
Michael is a former Managing Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s covered the Buffalo Sabres, along with the NHL in general, for various outlets since 2009. His work has been featured on outlets such as Yahoo, Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports.