SBD/January 10, 2014/Franchises

Sabres Believe New GM Tim Murray Brings Philosophy Congruent With Team's Approach

Murray stresses patience with the Sabres in the process of rebuilding
The Sabres chose new GM Tim Murray in part because they felt his "philosophies matched the mindset" of President of Hockey Operations Pat LaFontaine, according to a front-page piece by John Vogl of the BUFFALO NEWS. Murray believes that a team "should be built through the NHL draft, which is the path the Sabres have chosen." He also was "open to the Sabres' committee approach" and is "willing to give popular coach Ted Nolan a chance." There were "certainly other things that moved Murray to the forefront during the Sabres' two-month search to replace Darcy Regier, but holding a ticket to that trifecta was important." Murray has "more knowledge of the Sabres' roster than some other candidates" because he spent the last seven years as Assistant GM for the Senators, who play in the Atlantic Division with the Sabres. Murray is "not going to ship out players by the boatload just to make a splash, but he won't be shy after finalizing his reports" (BUFFALO NEWS, 1/10). The AP's John Wawrow noted the Sabres also hired Hockey HOFer Craig Patrick "to serve in a newly created role of special assistant and adviser." It is a role "similar to the one Patrick had over the previous two years" with the Blue Jackets. Patrick will "serve as a sounding board for Murray and LaFontaine in helping rebuild a franchise that has missed the playoffs four of the past six seasons" (AP, 1/9). YAHOO SPORTS' Greg Wyshynski wrote Murray is "an interesting hire, in that he doesn't fit the assumed criteria for a leading candidate." Murray has "no ties to Buffalo," but does have "extensive front office experience that has prepped him for this gig." Murray "may never have been a general manager in title in the NHL, but he knows the job thoroughly; and he's considered one of the most informed and insightful talent evaluators in the game" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/9).

CAN'T BUY ME LOVE: CBSSPORTS.com's Brian Stubits wrote Murray faces "a daunting task," and he "knows what's ahead of him, telling everybody that patience needs to be a virtue as the Sabres undergo this rebuilding phase." Stubits: "From the sounds of it Murray won't be afraid to be aggressive" (CBSSPORTS.com, 1/9). YAHOO SPORTS' Nicholas Cotsonika wrote the Sabres "are a mess," but "not all messes are the same." If you "have to build from the ground up, you want to do it in a place like Buffalo." Sabres Owner Terry Pegula "is a billionaire." He has "upgraded the facilities and given his employees every resource to do their jobs, and he has been patient with his coach and GM even as the critics howled." Cotsonika: "Expectations should be relatively low and realistic, and Murray should have the time to do this right" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/9). In Toronto, Damien Cox wrote Murray "sure seems a solid fit for Buffalo, or at least a better fit than was Terry Pegula as owner." Murray "knows what it's like to work within limits." Pegula still has "bags of money, but it seems there is a new understanding that throwing that cash at Buffalo's hockey problems isn't going to work" (THESTAR.com, 1/9).
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