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Kulfan: Sabres deny it but have thrown in the towel

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

You hear about tanking in the NFL and NBA, but not the NHL.

Until now.

While it may not be on the ice where it’s happening, the Sabres, nonetheless, are doing it.

Wednesday, they traded defenseman Tyler Myers, forward Drew Stafford, two prospects and a 2015 first-round pick to the Jets for defenseman Zach Bogosian, forward Evander Kane and a prospect.

The same day, they sent starting goaltender Jhonas Enroth to the Stars for picks.

Sabres general manager Tim Murray, however, refutes any claims of tanking.

“I disagree completely,” Murray told reporters. “I didn’t think we’d be in 30th place at this time this year when the year started.”

Murray points to the acquisitions of forwards Brian Gionta and Matt Moulson, and defenseman Josh Gorges last summer, all of whom have either been injured or played below expectations.

“We tried to get better, (but) it hasn’t worked,” Murray said. “That’s on me, that’s on all of us here.”

Including coach Ted Nolan, who wasn’t exactly given a ringing endorsement.

“We’re in 30th place,” Murray said. “We don’t have the most talented team in the world. I recognize that. That takes time.

“I would like to see more consistency. That’s not just on the coaches. That comes from the players, too. We evaluate every day, and that will continue.”

Especially June 26, when it appears they will select Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel in the draft.

Oilers shock fans

Oilers fans received an eye-opening survey in the mail last week.

Their new downtown arena opens in the fall of 2016, and in a survey to prospective season-ticket holders, it was hinted tickets would be 30-40 percent higher in certain sections.

Loge seats could be as high as $10,000 a season, with the added perks of cushioned bar stools with seatbacks around a table.

And, given the Oilers haven’t reached the playoffs since 2006, it was a bit of sticker shock.

“Are we nervous about (prices)? I get paid to be nervous,” Pat LaForge, chief operating officer for the Oilers, told the Edmonton Journal.

Golfer has fun with fans

PGA golfer Graham DeLaet is a Flames fan, and hates the Leafs.

Take his tweet about the Maple Leafs last week

“I will puke if the Leafs end up with McDavid,” he tweeted, referring to the likely No. 1 pick.

The reaction? There were 1,200 retweets, 1,500 favorites, and abuse that keeps coming.

“I’ve been getting ripped pretty good,” DeLaet told the Calgary Herald. “Some people take things a little too seriously. I’ve had a lot of fun with it.”

DeLaet has been giving back the verbal jabs here and there, and doesn’t regret his initial comment.

“Everyone wants athletes to be themselves and say what they mean in the media so you don’t get all the boring answers,” he said. “Then you do that and you get ragged on.”