Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Daily Poll: Was Benching Ville Leino the Right Call?


Yesterday interim head coach Ted Nolan decided it was time to stretch his muscles ahead of the Buffalo Sabres game against the Ottawa Senators. To show he’s serious about getting the veterans to actually play he decided it was time to sit the goalless Ville Leino ahead of Tuesday night’s game.

It was a bold move that left Leino scratching his head wondering what more he could do to impress Nolan. Of course the obvious answer would be that Leino could score a few more goals to help this team when the goals aren’t coming but this scratching had more to it than just his lack of goal scoring.

Nolan cited a lack of effort at practice on Monday as the main reason, aside from his lack of goals, for Leino being a healthy scratch.

“Sometimes it’s better to sit back and look and observe.” ~Ted Nolan on benching Ville Leino *Quote from Pro Hockey Talk 

Things have not been easy in Buffalo for Ville Leino since he signed that massive contract to join the team he helped eliminate from the

playoffs. You know the saying “if you can’t beat them join them”, well Darcy Regier turned that into “if you can’t beat them, go out and sign them for 10x their worth” and unfortunately it’s coming back to bite the Sabres in the butt.

Leino has been a complete no show since signing his contract, from injury after injury he’s been held off the ice far too much and now being a healthy scratch doesn’t bode well for his future in Buffalo. Earlier this season we asked if it was officially time to label Ville Leino a bust and most of you said yes, that’s a pretty big fall from glory for Leino.

A lot of sources are indicating that by scratching Leino the Buffalo Sabres are about ready to give up on and buy out his massive contract for just $7 million spread over 6 years. While I don’t think this is a direct link to him being bought out, I do think the Sabres are starting to lose their patience with a hockey player built like glass who can’t score.

Ville Leino has just 5 assists in 18 games this season with a +/- -6, not what the Sabres are looking for from their veterans.

Do you like Ted Nolan’s move of scratching Ville Leino? Do you think scratching him will help get his game kickstarted? Vote in the poll about whether scratching Leino was the right move and then sound off in the comments.

Was Benching Ville Leino the Right Call?

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Tags: Buffalo Sabres Ville Leino

  • Dano

    This is going to shock people, with my saying it..

    Call up a rookie, any of them, even Grigorenko and keep Leino-noshow off the ice.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I am 110% ok with that!

    • Jes

      Awesome statement Dano. But I’d take it a step further and put him on waivers. Enough is enough. He’s never going to live up to half of that contract. Pegula’s got the money so why not right? Obviously no ones going to pick him up so he’ll be a good call up if someone were to go down with injury. Then at the end of the season just buy him out. Personally I’d buy him out right now, I don’t know if that’s allowed? Just stop this little charade.

      • Dano

        I like your idea of an immediate buy-out myself. Theres folks in Rochester whom could do what Leino is doing, they are cheaper and still developing.

        Methinks LalalaFontaine is going to make some moves soon, like in the next 2 weeks. Give the fans a Xmas present of sorts.

        • Caitlin Campbell

          I agree but I think early 2014 there will be some big moves from LaFontaine

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  • Kevin

    I disagree, at his age sitting in the press box only makes things worse. I may be one of the few that felt he was playing well of late. To ask him to live up to a contract that DR threw at him NOW on such a bad team is ludicrous. So his benching is not only the wrong idea, but it is suspect in Nolan’s thinking. First he wants vets to show and play better to set an example – which I felt he was doing – then he benches him for doing what Nolan wants. Make up your mind Ted!

    • jimbobv2

      Leino most certainly isn’t doing what Nolan wants and is making it easy to bench him.

      12 shots in 18 games played and 0 goals isn’t cutting the mustard. And his “meh” response to getting benched AGAIN makes me want him gone yesterday.

      Sure, the advanced stats say Leino and Larsson have done well for the Sabres. But, holding onto the puck and not scoring hardly at all isn’t what this team needs.

  • Chris D.

    Leino has 40 goals TOTAL in his NHL career, which is 246 games. The guy isn’t a good player and Regier threw dumptrucks of money at him because he had a good playoff round against us and said he could play center. It just makes me even more mad that Regier was at the wheel up until very recently. Imagine where we might be right now if Pegula cleaned house and brought in LaFontaine on day 1….

    • Caitlin Campbell

      it’s hard to argue with stats

  • Joe

    U put that quote of wat nolan said up but u didnt put up wat he said immediately before that. He said when u have skills and arent playing to the skill level u have sometimes its better to sit back and observe so u took wat nolan said out of context to make him look bad

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I honestly didn’t know there was another part to the interview. My apologies