Sabres General Manager Tim Murray is a media whore, very quick to take the podium after every game and make a media spectacle of himself. The narrative is almost always architected to enhance his self-importance: his decision making, his management style, his attitude, his thinking.
And his press comments almost always include disparaging comments about others — about the attitudes or performance of young players, about Ted Nolan’s “culture fit,” about his hostile (and many say power-hungry) posture towards Pat LaFontaine. The list goes on.
People describe him as self-involved, and inclined to blame others, point fingers, and deflect criticism that should be his alone. And other decisions are non-sensical and lack logic.
For the last season, Murray has wrecked havoc on the team — trading players who were cornerstones of the franchise and deeply endeared figures in the region. No coach — not even Ted Nolan — can build a team up under that kind of haphazard management in the front office.
At Murray’s apparent direction, the Sabres’ strategy for the last season has been to tank — to do so poorly that the team gets a first round draft pick and comes into next season thriving.
So it is quite peculiar that he would fire the coach who executed the strategy, after being in the position for less than a full season. Murray just signed a contract for Nolan for three years, raising the questions about Murray’s erratic style and illogical behavior.
“[Nolan] wasn’t a good fit,” he is quoted as saying.
But fans can’t imagine what human being on earth would have been a better culture fit for the Sabres than Ted Nolan and Pat Lafontaine.
It is becoming increasingly clear that Tim Murray doesn’t know what he’s talking about and is unsuited to lead the Sabres franchise. Sure, he comes from a privileged family with a hockey pedigree (as if that plays well in a market like Buffalo). So, of course, his parents could land him an administrative (some say clerical) position in Ottawa — but that doesn’t give him the leadership qualities that the Sabers need for franchise turnaround.
Murray is an unlikable personality in a town that prides itself on its close-nit community, down to earth style, and humble underdogs. His arrogance comes off as incompetence and when he reveals his thinking on a subject it only raises questions on the quality of his logic. He has alienated himself from a fan base that increasingly sees him as the problem — and utterly lacks any warm sentiments toward him, as they still have for Nolan and LaFontaine.
The whole debacle is calling into question the vision and ownership style of Terry and Kim Pegula — who have bragged in the local media about their extensive involvement. Terry has said he is involved on the sports side, and Kim runs the business side.
Perhaps they don’t understand this community either.
It’s time for Tim Murray to go — and for him to apologize for trading away a franchise full of personalities that we once enjoyed to watch — even when they weren’t doing particularly well.