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Matt Moulson Interview with The Athletic

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https://theathletic.com/903657/2019/04/04/sunny-disposition-how-matt-moulsons-exile-to-an-ahl-team-in-southern-california-rekindled-his-enjoyment-of-hockey/

Discusses how going to SoCal rekindled his love for Hockey 

 

Moulson recalled that as the trade deadline approached, LaFontaine wanted to make sure Moulson would be willing to return to the Sabres as a free agent. Moulson was cool with the situation. He had no problem slipping to a playoff contender for a couple months while helping Buffalo gather more assets.

“We loved the Pegulas, and Matt loved playing for Teddy Nolan,” Alicia Moulson said, “so it was an easy decision when they wanted to sign Matt.”

Murray, in charge after LaFontaine’s sudden and still-unexplained departure, signed Moulson in July 2014 to a five-year contract that paid $6 million, $6 million, $5 million, $5 million and $3 million this season.

Moulson’s first year was decent, considering Buffalo tanked with the NHL’s worst record and a league-low 161 goals. Moulson netted 13 of them and added a team-high 28 assists.

That offseason, Murray hit the reset button with Eichel coming aboard. Nolan was fired. Dan Bylsma was Buffalo’s new head coach. Bylsma won a Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009 and the Jack Adams Award two years later, but there would be no highlights in Buffalo.

“The darkest time was that first year in Buffalo under Dan,” Moulson said. “I had a terrible year. I didn’t have many answers from the Sabres when I was looking for them.

“Maybe he thought I was a different type of player than I was. I’m not sure. I don’t really know. I never really got an answer out of him.”

Interviewed separately, Alicia called the first year under Bylsma the lowest point of her husband’s career. Matt’s ice time plummeted in 2015-16 by six minutes from the season before. He recorded eight goals, two on power plays, and 13 assists.

Moulson claimed Bylsma was aloof and unwilling to give specifics for the decreased role.

He had a situation where he wasn’t getting the opportunity that he felt he deserved, that he had worked for,” Okposo said recently. “It’s tough to not point fingers, but I think he did a really good job of accepting once he realized it was out of his control. He put his head down and tried to be the best teammate he could be.”

One of the Moulsons’ few pleasures in 2015-16 was boarding Eichel, and not just for two minutes.

Moulson was paying forward a favor. When he started with the Islanders, captain Doug Weight let Moulson and Tavares live in his guesthouse like a couple of skating Kato Kaelins.

“To open your house up to a young kid you don’t really know at all and treat him like family?” Eichel said. “That right there says enough about what kind of people Matt and Alicia are. It was an amazing year for me in terms of enjoying life and getting a chance to live with them.”

On the ice, Moulson was a mess. He had four goals and two assists through his first dozen games. Then he scored zero goals in the next 44 games and one goal in 63 games, frequently logging less than 10 minutes a night.

A month before the season ended, Moulson fumed further. Murray declared on the team’s flagship radio station that the veteran winger hadn’t been in proper shape.

“Tim said I didn’t train, and that really pissed me off,” Moulson said. “He didn’t say it to me. That was everything I based my career on. I never was the most skilled guy. I got the job done by being smart and working hard out there.

“I don’t care how much you get paid. It was a tough year.”

Moulson rebounded somewhat with a followup season of 14 goals and 18 assists for another last-place team.

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Does Doug Weight have some skeletons in his closet that I'm unaware of?

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6 minutes ago, shrader said:

Does Doug Weight have some skeletons in his closet that I'm unaware of?

Are you referring to the Kato Kaelin comment?  (In this day and age that seemed a somewhat obscure reference.)

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1 minute ago, Doohickie said:

Are you referring to the Kato Kaelin comment?  (In this day and age that seemed a somewhat obscure reference.)

Writers often date themselves with pop culture references. That was bad writing on Tim's part.

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Ted Nolan praised. Pat Lafontaine praised. Dan Bylsma panned. Tim Murray panned.

I'd really like to hear from Pat Lafontaine about all of this someday. Little tidbits here and there seem to paint him as the only guy who actually had his head on straight, contrary to the narrative at the time that he was the problem...

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14 minutes ago, Doohickie said:

Are you referring to the Kato Kaelin comment?  (In this day and age that seemed a somewhat obscure reference.)

Yeah, it's fairly obscure at this point, but I'd rather not have my name even remotely associated with all of that.

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Read the article earlier at work and wanted to make a post about it. Agree with what’s been said here, particularly about Lafontaine. Everyone should give it a read (and sign up for the athletic while they’re at it)

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1 hour ago, shrader said:

Does Doug Weight have some skeletons in his closet that I'm unaware of?

I definitely wouldn't have ever assumed Doug Weight is some sort of criminal based on the Kato comment. I'm guessing no one under 30 will have any idea what he's talking about. What a terrible reference (by the writer).

Edited by inkman

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1 hour ago, darksabre said:

Ted Nolan praised. Pat Lafontaine praised. Dan Bylsma panned. Tim Murray panned.

I'd really like to hear from Pat Lafontaine about all of this someday. Little tidbits here and there seem to paint him as the only guy who actually had his head on straight, contrary to the narrative at the time that he was the problem...

Maybe its time to bring back Nolan for the hat trick (awaits ridicule from other board members).

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Just now, DHawerchuk10 said:

Maybe its time to bring back Nolan for the hat trick (awaits ridicule from other board members).

As I have no hope left for this team in my lifetime, they may as well bring the circus to town.  I just don't care anymore. They are suffocating my will to be a fan.  

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10 minutes ago, inkman said:

As I have no hope left for this team in my lifetime, they may as well bring the circus to town.  I just don't care anymore. They are suffocating my will to be a fan.  

If you made it this far, you can go a little further.  Keep the faith brother.  "the best is yet to come"

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32 minutes ago, inkman said:

As I have no hope left for this team in my lifetime, they may as well bring the circus to town.  I just don't care anymore. They are suffocating my will to be a fan.  

Can't blame you. I am at a point of just passively following but putting no real emotion into it. If things turn around great but if they don't life goes on in my part of the world.

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I'm sure Matt believes this all to be true and I'm no fan of Bylsma or Murray but the simple fact is if he'd played better he'd have played more. He stunk and he slowly dropped off into nothingness and not a team in the league wanted him. Glad we can finally close the book on this one. Maybe not as bad a free agent signing as Leino but close. Bye Matt, enjoy your money. 

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2 hours ago, inkman said:

I definitely wouldn't have ever assumed Doug Weight is some sort of criminal based on the Kato comment. I'm guessing no one under 30 will have any idea what he's talking about. What a terrible reference (by the writer).

Am under 30 and I have no idea what he was talking about 

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3 hours ago, DHawerchuk10 said:

Maybe its time to bring back Nolan for the hat trick (awaits ridicule from other board members).

Well it would be different circumstances, this time he would be expected to get them to play well and win instead of embarrassing themselves by losing every game....

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17 hours ago, DHawerchuk10 said:

Maybe its time to bring back Nolan for the hat trick (awaits ridicule from other board members).

It would be hard to get him, as he is in such demand.

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18 hours ago, inkman said:

I definitely wouldn't have ever assumed Doug Weight is some sort of criminal based on the Kato comment. I'm guessing no one under 30 will have any idea what he's talking about. What a terrible reference (by the writer).

Yeah, I'm not trying to claim a thing about Weight here.  My only thought is that I don't want to be OJ Simpson in any analogy.

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17 hours ago, PerreaultForever said:

I'm sure Matt believes this all to be true and I'm no fan of Bylsma or Murray but the simple fact is if he'd played better he'd have played more. He stunk and he slowly dropped off into nothingness and not a team in the league wanted him. Glad we can finally close the book on this one. Maybe not as bad a free agent signing as Leino but close. Bye Matt, enjoy your money. 

Yea, there are two sides to every story. I certainly wouldn't expect Moulson to speak glowingly of Bylsma and Murray, given what transpired. And there is more than enough smoke to believe that both of them were inept with the people side of running a team. But I'm also not sure what he expected Bylsma to tell him. "Matt, you just can't skate at an NHL level anymore, and your hands have died with your legs." I'd like a coach to say that (in a nice way), but I don't think it would have made Matt feel any better about the situation. 

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18 hours ago, inkman said:

As I have no hope left for this team in my lifetime, they may as well bring the circus to town.  I just don't care anymore. They are suffocating my will to be a fan.  

And yet, here you are ❤️

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19 hours ago, apuszczalowski said:

Well it would be different circumstances, this time he would be expected to get them to play well and win instead of embarrassing themselves by losing every game....

This is a good point. I have to give Teddy a pass for his last stint here. He was set up to assuredly fail, which I’m sure killed a guy like him. Remember GMTM kept on dealing away his hot goalies? He’s used to getting the most out of his players and wouldn’t mind if he came back...to win this time. I think the bridge is burnt though. 

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5 hours ago, kas23 said:

This is a good point. I have to give Teddy a pass for his last stint here. He was set up to assuredly fail, which I’m sure killed a guy like him. Remember GMTM kept on dealing away his hot goalies? He’s used to getting the most out of his players and wouldn’t mind if he came back...to win this time. I think the bridge is burnt though. 

I'd love to read a book from Murray about his time as GM. It'd be a hell of a read and probably make most Sabres fans questions everything. 

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2 hours ago, inkman said:

I'd love to read a book from Murray about his time as GM. It'd be a hell of a read and probably make most Sabres fans questions everything. 

As long as he’s 100% factual and not bloated with pompous opinion, conjecture and overly dramatic “stories”, it would be an interesting read. 

But I have a feeling some would believe all the “negative light” stories and question all the “positive light” stories. But an interesting read to be sure.

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In the "where are they now?" column, On July 24, 2019, Moulson signed a one-year contract with the Hershey Bears.

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