Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Ted Nolan's Extension Is A Good Move For The Buffalo Sabres

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.

Today I’m going to refute articles talking about Ted Nolan‘s extension and why it’s a bad idea. I’m going to go beyond just hearing he isn’t an X’s and O’s coach from Mike Milbury.

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.

Tags: Buffalo Sabres Ted Nolan

  • Dano

    Mike Milbury?

    For starters, this is a guy whom assaulted a 12yr old kid at a youth hockey game. Hes also a guy whom went into the crowd to assault fans at a Bruins game with his team mates. In the same breathe he says guys like John Scott are ‘ goons ‘.

    I might be censored for the language I use here but Milbury is a piece of shit the planet could do without.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I hear you… I can’t stand Milbury

      • davidmuscalo

        The only one who listens to Milbury is Milbury. For most hockey fans, Milbury is irrelevant.

        • Caitlin Campbell

          according to articles written on both the Score and BR Milbury’s stance on Nolan was quoted

  • davidmuscalo

    I agree, Nolan is right coach for the team, but I don’t agree that he has the right team to coach. The Sabres are, at best, an expansion team. They have no leadership on the ice, they have (as yet) no – I’ll steal one for you goalie, no first line center and no NHL first line or NHL second line for that matter. With a few notable exceptions (Myers, Ehrhof, Hodgson and Girgensons), they have no experienced players around which to build a team. What’s even worse, there is little to crow about in the pipeline. Ya, you can talk about Risto, etc. in Rochester, but look at where Rochester is in the AHL standings.

    There is a real problem at the goalie position. Enroth has to go he will never steal a game for you, he is inconsistent and has absorbed the Sabre culture which says losing is okay. The jury is still out on Neuvirth. I’d like to see what Hackett and Leuivan can do over an extended period of time. Since we are in a rebuild, lets groom the goalies we will need as the team gains momentum.

    If this team is to improve, Murray needs to use some of those draft picks to bring some experienced players into the Buffalo. Chicago and Pittsburgh had a core of experienced players to build around. Buffalo has almost none.

    • Paul Schott

      I disagree completely. Most of our prospects are still in Junior A, with the notable exception of Risto and Armia up front and Liuwen and Hackett in goal. Armia was expected to struggle this year as he adjusts to the NA game from the bigger, less congested ice in Europe…and his wrist injury. Risto is playing well as is Liuwen (sp?) . Hackett is a train wreck, but played well in Edmonton the other night. The prospect pool in Juniors includes Grigerenko, JT Compter, Baptise, Bailey, MCCabe

      • Paul Schott

        And continuing on (the functionality and performance of this website absolutely sucks on an iPad) …
        And Murray added more prospects at the trade deadline…young ones who also are in Juniors /College (Compter and McCabe are in College actually) … Some kid named Fausching

        • davidmuscalo

          More prospects, prospects and more last place finishes forever!

  • qwicwted

    At first I was a little hesitant on Nolan’s return, but there are more things that he has done that I like, than dislike. For one, it seems that Nolan is a “players coach” – that the players like playing for him. They also know where they stand with him – work hard, you get ice time. Knowing the Sabres are in a rebuild, I don’t get to aggravated with a loss because since Nolan has come aboard – the games are pretty close and I like Stafford, Ennis, Conacher and Girgensens play. IMO we needed to move the previous core – Vanek, Pommer, Miller, Roy et al because they didn’t get the job done and I think they became complacent and had attitude problems.
    I liked the trade for Moulson and he is a free agent this summer – so who knows, I was really surprised that even after what Rolston did, he was interested in staying and resigning. I like the Miller/Ott trade, we get Stewart for another year – a big, physical forward with scoring ability who works, and we ended up with Neuvirth which isn’t too bad a thing as he looks pretty good and he’s young. Trading Ott might not be so bad as it gives him an opportunity to win the cup (something on all NHL players bucket list), but he does become a UFA at the end of the season and who knows – he really liked Bfl. McNabb wasn’t going anywhere with the Sabres, so I like that trade.
    IMO Buffalo needs to do a few tweaks and Nolan needs to prepare himself to play our youngsters next year. I see the need to have someone like Scott, but I think Knopkca does the same job with a little more talent. Really like Ellis, but again, I think D’Agostini has a little more skill. Buy out Leino and add 2-3 veteran players – Callahan, Ott, Moulson, Jagr or Statsny. Rumor has it that B. Ryan might be available for trade – Murray should contact his uncle to see what it would take to get him.
    Anyway, I know we’re rebuilding and all I ask is that the guys put in a good effort.

  • Benjamin M Taylor

    I think the NHL, number one, is about entertainment value. In a highly competitive sports market (NFL, MLB, NBA), owners/presidents/GMs need to put a competitive product on the ice every night to sell tickets and cable packages. Granted, Buffalo’s fan base is almost lemming-like in its loyalty, but I think this year hurt the franchise significantly.
    Tim Murray’s job this summer will be to find a formula that’s exciting to watch. I think he will do that, keeping in mind that he’s a new GM, and has to build good relationships with other GMs around the league. That’s something Darcy never did, and why we never scored with number one players. Other GMs simply did not want to deal with him, because they knew Darcy was going to screw them in the end. Tim Murray seems smart enough to build give and take relationships, which take years to solidify. Look for him to make some deals that don’t look fantastic on first look, that may benefit him in the future, i.e. GMs give him special consideration down the road. Darcy and that idiot Feaster in Calgary seemed matched, always trading crap for more crap and sitting in the basement of the league.
    Ted Nolan, forgetting all the nay-sayers and Milburys, has whipped this team into a work-hard, no-nonsense group. That, to me, speaks volumes about his character. It reminds me of the Sabres teams of the late nineties, short on talent but big on heart. I’ll take an underdog with spirit rather than a juggernaut with no cohesion. And Ted Nolan is the coach of the underdogs.
    I am excited for the next few years of development. I think Tim Murray will make some moves over the summer to make the team better, and we won’t see anything like what we saw this year again. We may not be contenders, but we’ll be better. And as the prospects develop and play in the NHL, we’ll be more and more dangerous with each passing year.
    Hang in there, Sabres fans. Better days are ahead. And when everyone’s jumping on the bandwagon (hello Penguins fans), you can say you held out when the team really stank to high heaven. And I like to think that speaks volumes about my character.