I don’t normally do this however, since the Buffalo Sabres have become the bunt of almost every joke there is during their rebuilding period. It’s time for Sabres writers and bloggers to fight back, especially when the main stream media get it wrong. It’s funny how the Sabres get laughed at when they’re trying to do exactly what the Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins did before they became Cup winners.
For the rebuilding Buffalo Sabres having Ted Nolan as the coach for the duration of the expected rebuild (3 years), is a
great idea. Should his contract last past those 3 years? No, they need to move onto a coach who knows how to win after Nolan’s rebuilding years. However, if we’re talking about the next three season’s which will be heavily dedicated to the Buffalo Sabres rebuild and high drafting, Nolan is the right guy.
The biggest notion seems to be the fact that Ted Nolan insists on hard work over actual skill and that he can’t coach a young talented team. What people forget is that during the rebuild it isn’t about racking up the wins or turning the Buffalo Sabres around. It’s about drafting the right guys and giving those players time to develop into key players. Nolan’s job over the next three season’s wont be to turn the Buffalo Sabres from last to first, it will be to develop the future of the club and if he can do that, which he has shown he can in the past, then he is most certainly the right guy for the job.
Either way the next few rebuilding seasons are going to be painful for the Buffalo Sabres and their fans, however they are necessary to the future. I’d rather see a team of rookies working hard and developing towards the future every night, then a team who just falls short of the playoffs while trying to rebuild. Nolan has that history of developing players like his 1996-1997 Sabres team, team Latvia and this years Sabres team Tyler Ennis, Drew Stafford, Jhonas Enroth and Zemgus Girgensons. Those four players have seen their play improve immensely since Nolan took over as coach and each is playing with new found confidence.
What Ted Nolan does is quite remarkable to be honest. He instils confidence in his players, allowing them to play their own game to their strengths and rewards players who have confidence and strong work ethic. He finds a way through hard work and passion to bring the best out in the guys on his team. Motivating your players is key in today’s NHL, just look at the teams that tune their coaches out after awhile, Nolan has the respect of his players and that speaks volumes.
Most importantly, bringing in a new coach at this point in time would be a huge slap in the face to the coach. The Sabres would likely finish near the bottom again and fans wouldn’t be impressed with yet another coach who seemed to have the answers failing.
Next year will be a big testing year for Nolan who will more than likely be required to give a lot of the Buffalo Sabres prospects some decent time with the Sabres. He’s going to motivate them, require them to work hard and most importantly let them develop their skills. He may not be the most “X’s and O’s” type of coach, but if you surround him with assistants who preach strategy and allow Nolan to do his thing, he is the perfect guy to lead the Buffalo Sabres through a rebuild. Once the rebuild is done and the Sabres have the ability to compete see ya later Ted Nolan. However, until that point when developing for the future is more important than winning, Nolan is the man.