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Ted Nolan is Taking the Gloves Off

Well it only took 24 games and a whole new management but finally it appears the players on the Buffalo Sabres will no longer be “babied” now that Ted Nolan is at the wheel. After a brutal loss to the Flyers on Thursday Nolan was fed up with a team that wouldn’t play and he’s decided it’s time to take the gloves off and make these guys play.

“The gloves are officially off, Now we got to do certain things in order to play. If you don’t, you’re not. Everybody’s telling me the young guys are the problem. They ain’t here anymore. So we don’t have that excuse anymore. So we have to look at ourselves in the mirror and bring what each and everybody on this team has to bring.” ~Ted Nolan

See what new management will do? With the new management the Buffalo Sabres have a new philosophy and that philosophy includes not rushing the young guys and making the veterans earn their ice time. When Nikita Zadorov, Rasmus Ristolainen and Johan Larsson got reassigned, the veterans were happy because they hadn’t earned their spot, but right now the veterans aren’t earning their spot either.

These guys are professional athletes, they don’t need to be babied. They make millions of dollars and it’s time they started playing Screen Shot 2013-11-23 at 10.57.04 AMhockey instead of whatever the heck they’ve been playing the last 24 games and Nolan is the perfect guy to get the ship turned around. When Nolan says that guys wont play if they wont compete I believe him. We’re going to see a lot more accountability between the players as they learn the hard way that they need to work. We’re probably going to see a little bit of Ville Leino and Drew Stafford in the press box as the guys who are giving it their all like Tyler Ennis rack up the ice time for Nolan.

Oh and Tyler Myers is going to learn some discipline in a hurry as the penalties are killing us and I imagine Steve Ott may be reigned in as his penalties for reputation and chirping the referees are bad.

“Penalties are going to stop (or) people who are doing it are not going to be in the lineup. It’s plain and simple as that.”

When Ted Nolan took over he said the Sabres were horribly out of shape and their conditioning was horrible, it’s clear that Ron Rolston was not pushing the players and it sure as heck showed on game day. Nolan is coaching for a job under the new GM, he isn’t going to take any nonsense from the players as he whips them into shape so they aren’t a joke on the ice. The Buffalo Sabres better buckle up or enjoy their seat in the press box going forward. Ted Nolan has made it clear he won’t accept anything less than their best.

In the NHL words are cheap so it’s now up to Ted Nolan to deliver on his promise to make these guys work and deliver every night. If he shows the players he’s serious then we’re going to see a much better and more motivated hockey team. It’s not going to happen over night but Nolan, along with LaFontaine are changing the culture of the Buffalo Sabres.

Topics: Buffalo Sabres, Ted Nolan

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  • Mark Huss

    The Sabres need a miracle coach, someone like Herb Brooks. Skate the players until they can’t skate anymore. Get back to the basics – because you are right, they haven’t been playing hockey!

    • Jes

      What about Emilio Estevez?

      • Kevin

        The just need better players period. That will make a world of difference. For the record Stafford and Leino have been playing well as of late. They can dump Flynn and stop playing Scott so much and messing with the lines every game. How are the players going to build any cohesevinenes.

        • Jes

          Scott is a Nolan type player. So we will be seeing more and more of him.

        • JHizzle75

          I also think Leino has been playing better( Stafford, not so much) . Considering he was on the fourth line. He practically gift wrapped one for Scott last game. Of course, Scott couldn’t handle the pass…. Big surprise there

        • Caitlin Campbell

          Better players could certainly help. More Moulson’s and Hodgson’s and less Scott’s

      • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

        Ha ha ha! Why did no one else find this funny?!?

    • Caitlin Campbell

      Oh man if only we could get Herb Brooks- the boys would be playing in no time!

    • davidmuscalo

      Ted Nolan is proven coach. He had success with the Sabres and the Islanders. In my opinion, no coach, even The Gunny, could get these bums to produce. Their holding all the cards, or, should I say the money.

      • Caitlin Campbell

        that’s a good point- could anyone get these guys going? I think they’ve slacked for so long they’ve forgotten how to work hard

      • Dano

        Dunno about that one. Pegula is quite the business man himself. If not for the limit on the number of contracts, im sure there would be ways to circumvent some of that cash.

  • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

    It’s about time!

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I know right?

    • Dano

      R. Lee Ermey or a Drill Instructor.. Nolan seems to want to fit the bill ;)

      • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

        You can NEVER go long with R. Lee Ermey!!!

  • Jes

    Still hoping new GM brings in a different coach.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      Your not a Nolan fan?

      • Jes

        Ya CC so far not a fan. I didn’t start watching hockey until the year Sabres made the finals against the Stars so I don’t know his work from the past. But ya so far not a fan of his whole grind it out strategy with no offense to speak of. Our 1st line went from scoring basically a goal in every game to a no show. I know it’s only been a week or so since he’s took over but thus far I do not like the style he’s brought in. He’d be a good assistant though. He’ll get into it with a bunch of players and the new GM probably and get the axe.

        • Caitlin Campbell

          I too never saw Nolan’s early work with the Sabres but I do kind of like his no nonsense approach with the veterans. But I am quite concerned that our top line (expected for Ennis) has done nothing since Nolan showed up.

          • Dano

            Nolan took a team with little to no talent and motivated them to believe in themselves and give their best effort EVERY game.

  • Ken Vorie

    The Sabres need to give first round draft pick Joel Armia a chance to show what he can do. He played the last 2 years in the mens elite league in Finland. He looked good in the preseason until he broke his hand. Keeping him in Rochester is a waste of talent.

    Vanek had nothing but praise for his ice awareness and scoring touch.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      He’s mainly in Rochester right now because of his injury but with Nolan now in charge I suspect he’ll stay there as rookies need to earn their shot and he hasn’t shown Nolan anything

  • davidmuscalo

    I sympathize with Ted Nolan, but just how is he going to get this team to play hard. They have become accustomed to going through the motions, some for years (Stafford), and there isn’t a lot a coach can do to make them work harder. Most are millionaires and can afford to be independent. Other than making them skate until they drop during practices, he has little control over them. Even if he does subject them to punishing practices they they may just lay down during games or malinger when injured.

    My only hope is that when a new GM takes over he systematically changes the current personnel through trades and demotions to the AHL.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I hope as well that a new GM comes in and completely changes the teams philosophy so that we get new players who are motivated to play and want to earn their ice

    • Dano

      ” just how is he going to get this team to play hard. ”

      Ever gone through boot camp? Theres MANY ways to motivate people into doing things they didnt believe they were capable of.

      I never thought I could run multiple 6 minute miles. I did. I didnt think I could swim 5 miles.. I did.

      If their motivation is just a paycheck, waive them. If such isnt possible, put them in the pressbox. Practices can go on for longer periods of time then what they are right now. If they dont have a movement clause, they could be traded and waived to a minor league or lesser-pro camp thousands of miles away, thus disturbing their families with logistical relocation issues.

      Theres both good and bad ways to try and motivate people into doing whats asked or needed of them.

  • qwicwted

    I understand what Nolan is saying and if our guys are not in shape, then they need to have hard practices. I think Nolan has had time to evaluate our guys -ok, our vets didn’t think the rookies had earned their ice time, so what are they thinking….we had one or two good years, signed a big contract and now we can coast because we’ve earned our time? I don’t get it. Ice time should be earned, if you play well and give 125%, then your ice time increases. Stafford hasn’t had a good numbers in years – so, he should be busting ass for playing time. Leino hasn’t really played a full year for us due to his injuries – so he should be busting ass to justify why he was signed to a nice fat contract. Erhoff – for what we pay him, he just doesn’t show me anything – bring back Sulzer, he’s consistent. It seems to me that Buffalo is trying to win a point about Scott being more than just an “enforcer” – forget it – let’s play someone who can get some points because the league is not going to let Scott play his type of game. Seems to me if our rookies were giving maximum effort, then maybe they should be allowed to play. I think these guys need a lesson in “you get what you give”. If you don’t give maximum effort – you don’t get game time.