Moulson move a message to players

December 04, 2017 - 1:25 pm

Denver, CO (WGR 550) - With the Sabres having the worst record in the NHL, the players had to know changes would be made. Matt Moulson was placed on waivers on Monday. Many players felt a message was being sent to the room, but Phil Housley didn’t see it that way, “I don’t know if it’s a message, it’s a difficult decision.

“I felt just with the position we’re in, we’ve got to make some decisions on our team and sometimes they’re tough decisions.”

Josh Gorges has spent time in Montreal and San Jose before coming to Buffalo. He’s hoping things like this send a message to the team, “I think it should be. I think everybody should take a look at that. A couple of us talked about that this morning, it’s an eye opener for everybody because this game is about winning and winning only and unfortunately when you’re not winning, things like this happen and guys should take note.”

Moulson is very popular in the locker room, especially with Jack Eichel and Kyle Okposo. Housley said, “I guess they can read it the way the want it, I just find it’s tough as a coach to make a decision like that to let a good person go, but under the circumstances that we’re in, I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of guys affected, maybe emotionally, maybe it’s motivationally. Certainly I know Kyle was his best friend, but we have to make decisions and sometimes guys may agree or disagree, but we have to make tough decisions.”

When Eichel arrived in Buffalo as an 18-year-old rookie, he lived with the Moulson family for the season. They have remained good friends and Eichel was upset to see his friend have to go through this, “It’s tough, he’s a good buddy I mean I owe a lot to him.

“He’s been there for me since the day I was drafted, so I’ve become very close with Matt and his family. His wife and two kids have been basically like family to me, so I feel for him.”

Veteran players try to lead by example. Ted Nolan had Moulson as one of the alternate captains, but he lost the “A” when Dan Bylsma showed up. Eichel said, “Matt was a guy that would show up to the rink every day and be a professional. Whether it was getting on the ice early to shoot or working out, he brought a good attitude.”

Housley and Jason Botterill talk quite a lot about personnel decisions and Housley said it’s been even more lately, “We’ve talked quite a bit throughout the last few weeks and I think just the direction that our team’s going, we have to make roster spots and try to push some other buttons, and try to get some internal competition within our team.”

Players can never be fully prepared for things like this or trades. Eichel said, “It’s tough for me to comment on that, that’s not really anything in my line of work. For me, it’s about playing.”

Nate Beaulieu left the game in Pittsburgh due to illness. Housley said the defenseman would not be on the plane to Denver.

On Monday, the Sabres traded for Scott Wilson from the Detroit Red Wings for a 5th round pick. Wilson, 25, spent his first three professional seasons in the Penguins organization earning two Stanley Cups with Pittsburgh. He was traded earlier this season from Pittsburgh to Detroit in exchange for Riley Sheahan.

Monday’s lines:

Kane - Eichel - Pominvile

Pouliot - O’Reilly - Fasching

Girgensons - Larsson - Reinhart

Nolan - Rodrigues - Okposo


Scandella - Ristolainen

McCabe - Bogosian

Gorges - Antipin (Falk)  

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