Sabre Noise fans, if you have been coming here for more than a week, you know that, when the season started, many of us who write for this site were . . .
how should I put this . . . extremely unhappy people.
(I have another description that includes two swear words – try to guess what they were! On second thought, never mind.)
Of course, we had a pretty good reason to be unhappy. The Buffalo Sabres opened their season 2-12-1 after just one month of play, after all, and looked woefully unprepared and poorly coached. Worst of all, the Sabres appeared to be about as interested in playing competitive hockey as I am in catching the new chick flick I saw previewed last night, The Other Woman. Personally, I was so angered and embarrassed by what I saw that I actually called for head coach Ron Rolston to be let go, something I really hated having to do.
Fast forward to now – just skip right through the first month and a half, and notice how different the Buffalo Sabres look when they take the ice. First of all, the team is actually entertaining to watch, a value that is quite important since most of us are paying money to enjoy these games. Second, the team is (for the most part) competitive, having lost only three games since November 13 by 3 goals and compiling a 7-9-3 record in that span.
Why do I mention November 13, specifically? Because that is the day that Ted Nolan became the interim coach of this squad. And I’m here to argue that, as of, oh, today, Nolan should have the interim tag removed from his job description and should be named the head coach of the Buffalo Sabres based on what he has done with this team.
Before you call me delusional, let me point out that this Sabres team still has many weaknesses to address. They’ll be lucky to fight for 10th, maybe 9th, in the Eastern Conference next season. There: now you can’t accuse me of being a blind homer.
Even so, no one can deny that Buffalo is a much more respectable team since the events of November 13. Under Nolan, the Sabres have increased their Corsi for percentage from 35.6% to 47.1%. They also went from only taking 40.2% of the total number of shots in their games to taking 47.7%, although last night’s -33 SOG differential won’t help that number.
Better record. Better stats. Better effort. Happier home crowd fans. All since Ted Nolan arrived in town – and with a team that isn’t built to win any time soon, to boot. In my opinion, I think the Sabres should go ahead and announce that Nolan is their guy now. Let him, the players, and the fans know that he will be at the helm of the rebuilding process.
But what I think is irrelevant. What do YOU think, readers? Vote, and start the conversation below, and @theamazingMrS!