Jets' Beaulieu: Playing in Buffalo was mentally 'degrading'
Jonathan Kozub / National Hockey League / Getty

Losing took its toll on Nathan Beaulieu during his time in western New York.

The blue-liner spent parts of two campaigns with the Buffalo Sabres before being traded to the Winnipeg Jets last season. He sought a trade after his role diminished in Buffalo under former head coach Phil Housley.

"I wasn’t in a good situation, I guess you could say. I tried to get out of there multiple times and it just didn’t happen," Beaulieu told The Athletic's Ken Wiebe. "I played on some good teams in Montreal, we made the playoffs every year except for one. Then you go to the complete polar opposite for two years in a row and it tests your will and your love for the game, for sure.

"You heard Ryan O’Reilly say it and I know (the Sabres) didn’t like what he said, but he couldn’t have put it better. I could say the exact same thing."

After the 2017-18 season and before he was traded from the Sabres to the St. Louis Blues, O'Reilly said he "lost the love of the game multiple times."

"You really question a lot of things," Beaulieu continued. "I know we have such an amazing life, but if you don’t enjoy it, it’s not all it’s (cracked) up to be because it gets tough and there are some dark days.

"All the money (in the world) couldn’t save it. Mentally, it was so degrading."

O'Reilly and Beaulieu aren't the only ex-Sabres players to criticize the team. Chicago Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner, who spent three seasons with the Sabres, called Buffalo an "atmosphere of negativity" in March.

The Sabres finished last in 2017-18, and after a hot start in 2018-19, they still posted the league's fifth-worst record. They haven't made the playoffs since 2010-11.

In an NHL player poll that ESPN conducted earlier this month, 34% of the 50 players said Buffalo is the road city they dread visiting the most, second only to Winnipeg at 42%.

Jets' Beaulieu: Playing in Buffalo was mentally 'degrading'
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