The way I see it, Ted Nolan doesn’t have any other options other than signing the deal the Buffalo Sabres have offered him, keeping him behind the bench for a reported three years.
The convoluted mess that has become the Buffalo Sabres front office has turned a dysfunctional franchise into a proverbial three ring clown circus of the National Hockey League. With the quick departure of Pat Lafontaine – a huge Ted Nolan supporter and likely the only reason the Nolan is back in the NHL, it has left Ted Nolan wondering what his future may look like without a benefactor pulling for him in the front office looks like.
Nolan’s NHL coaching record doesn’t speak for itself, or maybe it does.
|1995-96||Buffalo Sabres||NHL||Head||82||33||42||7||0||0.445||Out of Playoffs|
|1996-97||Buffalo Sabres||NHL||Head||82||40||30||12||0||0.561||Lost in round 2|
|2005-06||Moncton Wildcats||QMJHL||Head||70||52||15||0||3||0.764||Won Championship|
|2006-07||New York Islanders||NHL||Head||82||40||30||0||12||0.561||Lost in round 1|
|2007-08||New York Islanders||NHL||Head||82||35||38||0||9||0.482||Out of Playoffs|
In four total seasons with an NHL club as head coach he was above .500 only once. He won the Jack Adams in 1996-1997 after tagging a horrible Buffalo Sabres team and turning them into a playoff team, but didn’t get out of the second round. A damaging front office in Buffalo led to his departure the first time.
It took him ten years to get back to the NHL this time with the New York Islanders. This time it was a role of reverse fortunes, the first year his team likely overachieved under hid tutelage, losing in the first round of the playoffs, but dropping below .500 in his second season in charge.
Maybe his coaching style is build more for the type of player in the junior ranks, where motivation and hard work bring results, as opposed to the professional level where it is necessary to blend multiple skills levels and a strategy that requires you to outwork another equally if not more powerful team that has the same end goal. Developmental leagues might be the best place for Ted Nolan.
Wait a minute, have I not said the same thing about the only other coach in Buffalo Sabres history during my tenure here that isn’t named Lindy Ruff? Ron Rolston suffered the same fate that is likely to fall upon Ted Nolan – this time though just because he isn’t one of Pegula’s cronies.
Three strikes and your out is the typical sports cliché that is used when it comes time for a player, coach or anyone in real life really needing that many chances.
This is Ted’s third go round with an NHL franchise, and if he doesn’t take this offer, it is likely his last contract offer ever by a National Hockey League team.
Regardless if you think your buddy Pat Lafontaine was wronged in Buffalo – take the contract Ted – if might be the only way you save face. Sure hockey is an emotional game, but it is time to put those feelings aside and get back to coaching hockey. This team needs a motivational coach right now, not an emotional mess behind the bench. There is enough of a mess in the locker room. Bringing you back at this time was the right move for the Buffalo Sabres at this time. Walking away is the wrong move, for both parties.