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Buffalo Sabres GM Breeds Openness, Honesty with His Candid Talk on Hockey Operations

June 30th, 2014 at 2:00 PM
By Paul Lane Sabres 101

With every subsequent public appearance Buffalo Sabres General Manager Tim Murray makes, he further distances himself – for the better – from his predecessor.

 from Flickr via Wylio? 2013 grilled cheese, Flickr | CC-BY-ND | via Wylio

Sabres fans likely could not fathom former GM Darcy Regier chomping on gum while making jokes with reporters. But that's just what Murray did in the hours after the 2014 NHL draft ended Saturday.

He was also far more open in answers than Regier – and, indeed, many other pro sports executives. For starters, he opened up more about his desire to make a big trade, something he's never shied away from discussing in the roughly seven months he's been on the job:

"I said, 'We've got to do like the NBA,' " he said, discussing making a multi-team deal Saturday or another large-scale swap. "So I went to a team and said, 'You trade me your first pick from yesterday.' He didn't want to be the first guy to do that. So I'm not sure I did, either. But I thought it was a good idea."

Everyone essentially knows trade talks happen all the time. But they're generally treated with more secrecy than the whereabouts of the Holy Grail. So to hear someone in power openly acknowledge such talks, even if not naming direct names, is welcome and refreshing.

Not only does it go against the sports cliche of revealing nothing and giving any potential opponents nothing to run with, but it also serves as a reminder to Sabres fans that, yes, the team really is looking to improve. Not that Regier didn't make moves – he did, after all, pull the trigger on the Thomas Vanek trade last fall that got Buffalo the New York Islanders' first-round pick in 2015 – but you couldn't always tell he cared by the way he addressed the media. His milquetoast answers did little to indicate he was working much at all.

So Murray admitting the truth is nice to hear, both about trades and about those players now under his control. When asked what he could say about third-round pick Jonas Johannson, Murray basically admitted he hasn't actually seen the Swedish goalie play:

"Just what I've been told. What do you want me to say, right?"

This may be the case for many managers. That's why scouts are on the payroll, after all. But just to hear an acknowledgement, again, is welcome as a fan.

More openness does not, in any way, mean the results on the ice will be better. But it is a sign that the organization is willing to include fans on more of the processes involved in the rebuild. That in itself is a welcome and needed change.

Tags: 2014 NHL Draft, Buffalo, Buffalo Sabres, Hockey, NHL, tim murray

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