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Report: Sabres were set to extend coach Nolan last week, future uncertain now

Mar 3, 2014, 9:17 AM EDT

nolanlafontainegetty AP

Buffalo interim coach Ted Nolan’s resume is looking a lot better lately.

He took a Latvian national team that no one thought much of and led them to the quarterfinals in the 2014 Winter Games. In the NHL, he’s helped the Sabres at least look respectable after their horrendous start under old coach Ron Rolston.

It’s not surprising that the Sabres would want to keep him around on a more permanent basis. What is eyebrow raising is the revelation that they were ready to announce that they had agreed to terms on a multiyear contract last Tuesday, but then something changed, according to the Buffalo News.

Now it’s not clear if he’s going to stay at all. That corresponds with the news that Nolan’s close friend Pat LaFontaine has resigned from his post as president of hockey operations.

“We did talk about contract,” Nolan said. “Right now is not about my contract. It’s about the situation that just happened. It’s about what transpired in this organization, what happened to a very dear friend.”

Sabres GM Tim Murray made it clear that he wants to keep Nolan onboard, but he’s not going to speculate on what Nolan’s decision will be or “beg” the bench boss to stay.

Between this and the Ryan Miller trade, the Sabres have been dominating the headlines lately and they are likely to stay in the news with the trade deadline approaching.

  1. elemeno89 - Mar 3, 2014 at 9:26 AM

    If Nolan leaves, then the weight of that decision is on him, not the organization. Murray extended an offer, so now the ball is Nolan’s court whether he wants to accept it or not.

    With that do I think he is a good coach for this transition period? Yes. Do I think he has something to offer in terms of leadership and example for the young guys to learn what it takes to paly in this league? Yes.

    Do I think he is replaceable?…. Yes.

    There are other coaches out there that can do the same thing. I would like to see him stay, but if he decides to leave there will always be a line of candidates that want to show that they can take a last place team into the playoffs…

  2. hockey412 - Mar 3, 2014 at 9:40 AM

    Must be a hell of a coach – seems like the younger players respond well to him, and that is crucial right now to Buffalo. On the other end of things you could end up with a Torts in there, sending players down to the minors and then back up 10 times every season until their mentality and outlook is shot.

    Murray has already made some good deals but I dislike his attitude on this one, or at least his statement, if it was taken in context. I’m also curious as to the LaFontaine situation, “Right now is not about my contract. It’s about the situation that just happened. It’s about what transpired in this organization, what happened to a very dear friend.” is fairly telling.

  3. joey4id - Mar 3, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    Nolan’s attitude right now is a reflection of his loyalty towards LaFontaine, and his lack of appreciation with respect to what has transpired.

    Never really understood why he didn’t get a an NHL gig before landing with the Sabres after being the bench boss with the Islanders NY.

  4. mdobrasz - Mar 3, 2014 at 10:00 AM

    Beggars can’t be choosers there Teddy. You should be thankful for any kind of contract now that they brought you back into the NHL from basically nowhere. “Boohoo …..LaFontaine left and they traded away our best goalie” …. STFU and coach the players that the GM gives you. This team is making some awesome rebuilding moves to position themselves for long-term success. I don’t even know how many first and second round draft picks we have now, but combined with the young talent we have the future looks good in Buffalo.

    • overunder27 - Mar 3, 2014 at 11:24 PM

      Hahahahaha. How many times have we heard about prospects prospects prospects, then they wind up on the 3rd line or get traded? Yeah, first and second round picks… but WHAT # OVERALL? Grigorenko (#12) is a bust, Girgensons (#14) will be a solid 2nd liner. Great, now what about the glaring lack of a firepower first line? Hodgson and Ennis will not lead the Buffalo Sabres to a Stanley Cup. Go and look at the Top-50 forwards in the league; not one Sabre in the Top-50 in goals, assists or points. Zero. Zip. Nada. Worst offensive team in the league by a mile. A bunch of 27th overall and 53rd overall picks is not going to fix the team. Even if we did get into the cream of the crop in the Top-5 or Top-3 of the draft, it still doesn’t change the fact that a bunch of prospects will not develop into a Stanley Cup Champion by themselves. Young talent… lol, how many years have we been waiting for our supposed young talent? Always the future, never the present. I remember seeing a Sabres sweater with the words “There’s Always Next Year” on the back. Sad but true.

  5. earpaniac - Mar 3, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    Why are they so mad about the trade? They sucked with them, were going to lose them, and got a good return.

  6. President Charles Logan - Mar 3, 2014 at 5:26 PM

    what future? buffalo?
    bahahahhahaaha
    yeah ok

  7. zinger99 - Mar 3, 2014 at 5:49 PM

    Like the city itself,that organization is a rotting corpse in the desert sun.

    • dirt2013 - Mar 3, 2014 at 6:39 PM

      It’s rare when the sun shines in Buffalo this time of year.Maybe save the “desert sun” for the Arizona team.

  8. zinger99 - Mar 3, 2014 at 8:20 PM

    Ever been in Buffalo when the sun shines? It’s still depressing.

  9. ralphwilsonisrich - Mar 4, 2014 at 6:48 PM

    zinger99 Ever been anywhere moron, it is called the east

  10. zinger99 - Mar 4, 2014 at 7:36 PM

    …was sunny in NYC today. You?

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