Ted Nolan let it slip on Monday that the Buffalo Sabres and his agent are hammering out the details on a new deal that will keep him behind the bench through the team’s transition years.
Said Nolan: "I put into my representative's hand and I guess him and [GM Tim Murray] will be talking soon if not have talked already. Just formality and getting a couple of things ironed out and doing all the legal stuff. We'll leave it in their hands for now."
So “just a formality” would seem to indicate that this thing is getting done, which is at least a little surprising given how Nolan was knocked on his ass by the resignation of Pat LaFontaine from the Sabres.
Luckily for himself and the Sabres, Ted Nolan’s not an idiot.
His stock is rising. He coached Latvia to some impressive heights in Sochi, including the toughest game Canada played. Buffalo gave him a second chance, and he’s turned the Sabres from comedy to competence. Ron Rolston was fired with a .225 winning percentage this year in 20 games; Nolan has a .420 winning percentage in 44 games. He and his staff, including assistant coach Joe Sacco, deserve another whack at the piñata.
But let’s just say, for argument’s sake, that the Sabres were on the fence about this – is there ANY way Nolan doesn’t get asked back from a PR perspective?
After the LaFontaine mess, and with Nolan having earned accolades from fans and the trust of the players, he had to come back. Even if he’s not the coach when this team returns to contention, he’s earned the chance to help the franchise inch out of the abyss back to it.