Sabres' Murray explains why there were no trades

March 1, 2017

Tim Murray took calls about Evander Kane, Brian Gionta, Dmitry Kulikov and Cody Franson, but in the end, he couldn’t get any deals done before the trade deadline.
Murray’s Press Conference was carried live on WGR Sports Radio 550 and he of course was disappointed, “I made a few calls to see if I could make a hockey trade to get younger and this is the end result.”
Many felt Kulikov and Franson would definitely be traded. Murray said, “We had two UFA’s on the backend and pricewise I was very open and my market was just to get fair value, so I didn’t not trade a guy by demanding too much.”
“I can tell you I had multiple calls on Kulikov and I didn’t ask too much and multiple guys said that’s fair price, but injuries came up a lot in the conversations.”
Gionta told me that he did not want to leave because as the team captain, he wanted to see this through. Murray said it was important to him to show Gionta that respect, “I spoke to Brian Gionta today after I did get a call. Absolutely, he’s the captain of our team, he’s a local guy, he’s been a longtime character person in the league, so I called him and asked him a couple of questions and got answers.”
When it comes to Kane, Murray said he had a couple of teams call on him. Murray told them, “I said I wasn’t actively trying to trade him and if that’s your goal this week, I’m willing to listen, but I didn’t like what I heard so there was no traction on that.”
Kane has one more year left on his contract and the Sabres can speak with him about an extension this summer. Murray said that could happen, but it’s not a slam dunk, “Yes, I’d be open to that, but I’m not sure I’m going to do that. There’s a lot of bridges to cross before that time.”
“Would I be open to it in a scenario where he has a couple of things going on off the ice go away and stuff like that, absolutely?”
The Sabres have lost four straight games and I know it would be no surprise to you that Murray was very upset. He said, “After the game I stayed here until 12:30 at night and had long meetings with the coaching staff because the last three of four games are unacceptable. We have to show this market that we’re improving and we want to be a good hockey club.”
Lately, there have been many calls for Murray to be fired and for him to fire Bylsma. The GM doesn’t blame the coaching staff, “The players are the game. We played really well going into the break except for the last two periods against Chicago. We had a very condensed schedule so the Chicago game, they have a hell of a team and I can live with a loss like that. I’m still going to be pissed off after the game, but I’ll be rationally pissed off and then we go out west and we can’t play and that’s to me is squarely on the players.”
“There was no less preparation by our coaching staff. We didn’t fly to Denver and go and get drunk for three days. We got off the plane and had a real good practice in Denver and we were definitely not there and I would say we were physically not there. We’re up in the Arizona game and their goaltender played very well, but still we’re up, but that’s just a complete mental breakdown and it’s certainly not acceptable.”
“To blame the coaches, I think we should all take our fair share of the blame. If the blame’s on me, I’m good with that, but I think the players have to take responsibility for that too.”
Murray was asked if he’s aware of the fan unrest that has been simmering as this season has gone on. He said, “I think there’s a part of the fan base here that thinks we’re going in the right direction and then I think there’s a part of the fan base that wants to see it done quicker and I understand that, but nothing good in life comes quickly, but I’m not asking for time from you. I have a plan, we have lots of picks, we’ve got some good prospects coming, so I’m excited about some of our kids, but it takes time, but that’s not for me to decide if we’re going quick enough, that’s for you guys to decide.”