Skip to content

Nolan shuffles lines, roster for Sabres debut

Nov 15, 2013, 11:54 AM EDT

Ted Nolan Getty Images

Ted Nolan’s first game behind the Buffalo bench in 16 years promises to be intriguing, though not just for his coaching debut.

The new head coach has rattled the Sabres, so to speak, with a number of lineup adjustments heading into Friday night’s affair with the Leafs. Let’s take a look:

John Scott will draw in for the first time since his seven-game suspension for hitting Boston’s Loui Eriksson in the head. This also marks the first time Scott will face the Leafs since the infamous Phil Kessel attack/line brawl during the preseason.

— Scratches will be Mikhail Grigorenko, Johan Larsson, Nikita Zadorov and Mike Weber (link). Grigorenko might be the lone surprise here, as he played in each of the last two games under Ron Rolston and scored his first two goals of the year in last Friday’s loss to Anaheim.

Ville Leino and Zemgus Girgensons will both play center. “We want to put these guys where they feel comfortable so there’s no excuses,” Nolan explained. In keeping with the comfort-level thing, Marcus Foligno will return to wing.

Ryan Miller was the first goalie off during the morning skate, suggesting he’ll get the start.

All in all, it sounds like Nolan wants to stamp his authority on the team right from the get-go, though even he admitted it might be tough figuring out who goes where.


  1. dropthepuckeh - Nov 15, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    Wow – forgot these two were playing tonight. Wish I could watch it. I wonder if Clarkson will go with Scott finally. I wouldn’t suggest it but he seems crazy enough to do it. This will be an entertaining home and home…..

  2. sabatimus - Nov 15, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    “John Scott will draw in”: does that mean Nolan’s actually going to START that talentless goon?

  3. feedmetherock - Nov 15, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    They have completely ruined the development of Grigorenko. What a joke. They can stick pile all the draft picks in the world, but they still don’t have a clue on how to develop talent.

    • bullwinkle88 - Nov 15, 2013 at 12:48 PM

      Have you ever seen this guy play? I’m not talking about the mistakes – every rookie makes those. I’m talking about the drive…the desire…the passion for the game. This kid doesn’t have it. e.g. he doesn’t drive into the corners to get the puck, he “leans” into the corner and loses the battle every time. Kids who love the game with a passion use their legs and entire body to go after the puck. Grigorenko doesn’t want to work that hard. Additionally he is not a fast skater.

      In fact the only attribute I have observed is that he has an excellent shot. That isn’t enough to make it in the NHL – and the Sabres can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

      • elemeno89 - Nov 15, 2013 at 1:34 PM

        I think Grigorenko will finally be able to find that drive under Nolan. Rolston had this laid back attitude that can be very contagious for new players. It’s not too late for Grigorenko, with this being his second season, but it’s coming close to the point where his potential could get lost if not handled correctly. Nolan knows that.

      • feedmetherock - Nov 15, 2013 at 2:13 PM

        moving him in an out of the press box doesn’t help though. That is my point. The only way he should have been with the Sabres this year is if he was going to get 2nd line minutes. This is also an issue with how the AHL and Juniors are set up. Clearly Grigorenko is too good for the QMJHL, but he cannot be sent to the AHL. That is where Grigorenko needs to be. However, I would rather him dominate the QMJHL and get 20+ minutes a night vs. playing in 60 games and only average 10 minutes a game. I am not saying he doesn’t have faults, but the guy scored in the last two games and might have been building confidence. I am not sure the best way to get to the guy is to send him to the press box after a 2 game point streak.

    • bluefalcon99 - Nov 15, 2013 at 2:49 PM

      I realize this is a Nolan thread, but these are some good comments about Grigorenko. The key mistake made was keeping him up in the NHL last year. He should have been sent back to the QMJHL. Now he can’t go to the AHL until he is 20. So the Sabres are stuck with the delicate task of trying to develop a guy who is in over his head while at the same time not shattering his confidence. I think it’s fair to say that most of Grigorenko’s entry level contract will be eaten up by ineffectual development. A few years in the AHL and some RFA contracts might see him develop into the player he was meant to be, but he’ll be 22 or 23 by then.

  4. kingcobraman - Nov 15, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    Nolan is exactly what Buffalo needs … give it the transitional month and see the progression …

  5. drewzducks - Nov 15, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    Has anyone seen Ryan Miller’s wife since wandering hands Ted was hired ?

  6. gnrfan8804 - Nov 15, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    She wont go near nolan. Shes already banging charlie sheen

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1814)
  2. P. Kane (1396)
  3. S. Matthias (1240)
  4. P. Datsyuk (1110)
  5. D. Carcillo (1100)