Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Ted Nolan Needs To Sign Contract Extension


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.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Tags: Buffalo Sabres Pat Lafontaine Ted Nolan Terry Pegula

  • Jes

    He should resign. We need him to teach the kids for next 2 seasons then I believe we will need a different coach to lead us to playoff success.

  • Dano

    I think Ted should walk at the end of the season. Why take on a job for a guy whom doesnt want you in the first place? Its Murrays team, let him do the work. Murray wanted the job, let him sink or swim by his own decisions, not things that were given unto him by a guy whom left.

    If your a local to Buffalo, you know what the Cobblestone is. The Scuttlebutt is that Patty and Murray had a falling out over some of the trades. Miller and Ott were both going to stay but someone wanted to go draft dreaming instead. The countermeasure to try and pacify Patty was to keep Nolan on for a few years.. Throw the dog a bone so to say.

    Its PEGULAS problem, not mine. I hope he likes what his people have delivered to him.

  • qwicwted

    Ted needs to make his own decision. Patty had the opportunity to be GM and he could have taken the job. Murray was his hand picked guy and why would someone take a GM job to be a puppet? So, Ted has a 3 year deal in front of him – better sign fast Ted before the offer expires.
    Miller wasn’t going to stay – he wants to get closer to the wifey , he just didn’t want to go to Canada and those where the teams that were really interested in him. The California teams don’t need any stinkin goalies – so St. Louis is a great place for him – a hub. Ott, I think Bflo gave him the opportunity to win a cup – if that happens don’t be surprised if he comes back next season. It almost never happense, but Ott is not a typical player, he is special.