EDMONTON, Alberta -- The Sabres will be practicing today in Rexall Place around 1 p.m. local time (3 p.m. in Buffalo), so your daily updates in advance of Thursday night's Tankers Bowl will come much later than normal.
While I was driving here from Calgary, General Manager Tim Murray did his weekly appearance on WGR Radio. (Because the team is not home this week, Murray appeared on "Sabres Hockey Hotline", the morning show the Sabres purchase the time for on their flagship station)
There were no bombshells and Murray was not asked about the team's franchise-record, 12-game losing streak nor the status of coach Ted Nolan. The biggest news was the status of defenseman Nikita Zadorov, whose suspension has been lifted after he missed Tuesday's game in Calgary for returning late from the All-Star break due to travel snafus getting out of the Dominican Republic.
Murray said it will be the decision of the coaching staff to decide if Zadorov will play Thursday. But after watching Andrej Meszaros slog around the ice Tuesday night in Calgary, is there really any decision to make?
"Show up to your job and you're off suspension is basically the way it is," Murray said. "He's a 19-year-old kid. We're going through his ups and downs here, which we all expect. I use the analogy if I was still working at Murray Sporting Goods and my kid was in the Dominican and didn't show up for the Monday job because he missed his flight, what would I do? He'd probably be in a little bit of trouble with me.
"I think it's just the right thing to do with the kid to teach him a lesson. I think it's the right thing to do with our veteran players to show them we're paying attention. The kid got caught in a situation where it really wasn't his fault, but don't get caught in those situations."
Murray said he understood Zadorov was not be intentionally delinquent in his return, and hoped the player and his agent will not grieve the suspension to recoup lost salary.
"The kid did not do this purposely but there's still a lesson to be learned," Murray said. "I hope the rest of our prospects are paying attention. We want to be good to our prospects and our young players but there comes a time where right is right and wrong is wrong. I felt this was the right decision."
In other news, Murray said the trade market remains surprisingly quiet more than a month from the March 2 deadline and that the Sabres are looking at a long-term view for any deals.
"We have to get better," Murray said. "But our better is not today, our better is the future."
Murray also said the Sabres did not consider claiming Los Angeles center Mike Richards on waivers, largely because of contract considerations.