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 hockey 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.