Buffalo’s in a tailspin right now — 1-8-1 over its last 10 games — which has renewed chatter of the club getting back into the Connor McDavid-Jack Eichel sweepstakes for this June’s draft.
Josh Gorges, though, doesn’t want to hear it.
“Our focus since the start of the year hasn’t been on trying to get the top draft pick,” the Sabres’ alternate captain said, per WGR 550 Radio. “Never in my life have I ever heard of losing on purpose.
“That’s a joke to even think about.”
The Sabres currently 28th in the NHL with 31 points, three up on another team right in the mix of the “McEichel” derby — Carolina, who the Sabres play tomorrow (hence the recent tank talk.) But go back three weeks, and the conversation was very different; on Dec. 15, Buffalo beat Ottawa for its fourth straight victory and ninth in 12 games. That left the Sabres with a 13-16-2 record and 28 points, four back of the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, which led us to ask the following:
Fans appeared split on the issue, with most replying along the lines of “players play to win and it’s impossible to ask ’em to lose… but it might cost us a generational player.”
Then there’s Gorges, who has an entirely different take on that last stretch of good results. He sees it as a example of how well the Sabres can play, and how frustrating it makes this current slide.
“We’ve shown that when we want to do the right things, when we want to play together, when we want to compete hard, we can play,” he said. “And we’re not going to win every game, but we can compete.
“We’ve beat some of the top teams in the East and we’ve beat L.A. and some good teams out West. The potential is there. So when you don’t have it and we don’t play the way we’re supposed to, that’s frustrating.”