Dan Bylsma made headlines Thursday when he was named the new head coach of the Buffalo Sabres.
When he joined Sabres Hockey Hotline with Kevin Sylvester and Andrew Peters on Friday, he shared a story about another headline he made back when he was a player with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
Prior to the start of the 2003 Stanley Cup Final against the New Jersey Devils, he went on a radio show and ended up providing his opponent with some bulletin-board material.
“They’ve won two Stanley Cups and they have players like Scott Stevens and [Martin] Brodeur and [Scott] Neidermayer. What would be better than winning Stanley Cup Game 7 and beating the best of the best and Scott Stevens, shaking his hand?” Bylsma recalled. “That was the comment I made and somehow it got broken down to somehow I had a grudge with Scott Stevens.
“… The sad part was I was trying to desperately to tap dance around anything that was meaningful.”
LISTEN TO BYLSMA'S FULL INTERVIEW
The Devils would go on to win in seven games and according to Peters, that quote could fire Stevens up even years later.
“I remember the quote, for sure,” Sabres captain Brian Gionta said when he joined Hockey Hotline later in the show.
Gionta was a second-year pro on that New Jersey team and remembers seeing the headline posted on a white board in the dressing room.
“You know how it comes across. You know it wasn’t meant that way. But at the same time, it’s one of those things that you learn from as a young guy,” Gionta said.
“You see something like that – it was bulletin board in our room, fuel for Hall-of-Fame guys to play even harder. Those are little lessons that you gain.”
LISTEN TO GIONTA'S FULL INTERVIEW
Looking ahead, both the captain and the new coach are looking forward to the promises of next season and working together to turn the Sabres into a team that can eventually compete for the Stanley Cup.
“I think it’s a good fit. I think he’ll be good with our young guys,” Gionta said. “He’s got a winning pedigree, which is great for us. Like he said yesterday, setting this culture and really starting to establish things and move things forward.”
Sabres Hockey Hotline with Kevin Sylvester and Andrew Peters airs live on weekdays from 10 a.m. until noon on WGR 550.