Buffalo Sabres Mid-Season Grades

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Dec 13, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres head coach

Ted Nolan

watches play from the bench during the second period against the Florida Panthers at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Coaching – C

Ted Nolan is not an x’s and o’s coach.  He is the great motivator.  If Ted Nolan was the right coach to bring in at the time to smooth things over with fans because the trains were seemingly running off the tracks and the team needed a good PR move, then mission success.

If your not really interested in winning, then managements plan of tank behind the scenes (see page 1) is working with Ted Nolan has coach.  But the faults of Ted Nolan are very apparent when you place games like the Buffalo Sabres tossed out on the ice the last two contests against the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils.  When your team falls behind that quickly, you can just poke the guys with a stick and say play harder, have fun, be a hockey team.  The coaching staff cannot rely on the veteran presence of the team to install the system and make sure it works.

If your head coach isn’t the x and o guy, then who is calling the shots?  Is the system just bear down and play simple hockey?  The league has evolved, and Ted Nolan has not.  The Buffalo Sabres are a team that is going to rely on the youth movement over the next few seasons to grow, they need a coach with a system, a you play hockey this way mentality.  Ted Nolan is in over his head with this team, and no amount of motivation is going to win you a Stanley Cup with a head coach that is sub .500 for his career.

Is Ted Nolan going to last beyond this season for the Buffalo Sabres?  He does a three year contract, but is only filling a void while the team hits the reset button on the team?

Next: Offense, this team has offense?