Photo: Paul Hamilton (@pham1717)

O'Reilly said he didn't see the changes running this deep

He hopes to speak more to the new regime to make everybody better

Paul Hamilton
April 21, 2017 - 12:02 pm

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Many have expressed surprise that Tim Murray and Dan Bylsma were fired, but the players haven’t had their say yet. Ryan O’Reilly is preparing for the World Championships, but he said Thursday’s events took him off guard, “I was a little surprised. I thought it was going to stay the same and I thought if something was going to happen, it would’ve happened right when the season ended, but I understand the reasoning behind it as its two unsuccessful years for me.”

“It’s unfortunate you don’t want to see people go, I enjoyed playing for them and when there isn’t success, changes are going to be made and it happens, so I have to worry about myself and being a better player.”

Terry Pegula said on Friday he will be leading the search and he hadn’t talked to anybody yet, including for Kings general manager Dean Lombardi. O’Reilly said, “Obviously there’s an uncertainty, you don’t know who’s going to come in, but personally I’m more focused on myself. I want to be better and I have to change and I want to be a leader on this team, be a voice and lead the team in the right direction and I feel it’s a big responsibility for myself to help turn things around here.”

Terry Pegula said he’s looking for an experienced guy to lead this team moving forward. O’Reilly said, “Yes, I think that’s good for sure. I think they’ve got it under control, I think it’s nice to have ownership that if things don’t work, they make changes and then I have to perform because if I don’t, it could be me that’s leaving next.”

“They’ve done big things for myself and I trust the decisions that they make and I want to win here and I know they do too.”

Pegula said many times that they need better communication in the organization from top to bottom. O’Reilly can only speak about the locker room and he said, “I think that’s good, relationships are huge in this business, you’ve got to have the communication, the dialog and that’s something that’s important for me too.”

“I have to have a better relationship with the GM, the coach, the ownership, I’ve got to be able to share my feelings on the team, it’s time for me to step up, they’re making changes and I need to change myself.”

Tim Murray had mentioned that there needed to be better communication between the coaching staff and the players. I asked O’Reilly if he felt he could talk to Bylsma, “Yes, I thought Dan did a great job, I can’t say he was the reason why we lost, I saw so many errors in myself and my mistakes, but I enjoyed playing for Dan, I thought he did a good job and it’s just unfortunate thing and it’s time for someone new.”

O’Reilly doesn’t blame Bylsma. I asked if the team let the coach down and O’Reilly would only speak for himself, “Personally yes I do. I don’t feel I was my best this year, so yes, I think I let everyone down.”

O’Reilly is still practicing by himself over at HarborCenter getting ready to play for Team Canada at the IIHF World Championship. He said when that’s over, the training stops for a bit, “I usually try to take a month of doing absolutely nothing, just to get that hunger back. It’s a complete release, get away from the game and then after a month, it’s right back into it.”

The World Championship begins May 5.

Hear from Ryan O'Reilly and his reaction to the firing of Dan Bylsma and Tim Murray below:

04-21 Ryan O'Reilly.mp3

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