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.