Buffalo Sabres - The hardest-working team in hockey.
The younger and newer Buffalo Sabres fans wouldn't believe it, but once up on a time this moniker was given to the Sabres when Ted Nolan was head coach here. After the number of lackadaisical performances we've seen from the boys in the blue and gold sweaters, Nolan being re-hired sure comes as a breath of very welcome fresh air. As a player he was drafted 78th overall by the Detroit Red Wings in 1978, and played in the AHL and for the Pittsburgh Penguins for a few years as well before retiring in the mid 80's, having accumulated 22 points and 105 PIM in his 78 NHL games.
Here's a little bit of history about Nolan in Buffalo:
- Hired as head coach of the Sabres in 1995 from the Hartford Whalers where he just started as assistant coach.
- Led the Sabres to 4th place in the Northeast Division in his first season, with a 33-42-7 record.
- Made the playoffs in an eventful second season, having won the Northeast Division going 40-30-12.
- Had a volatile relationship with goalie Dominik Hasek and GM John Muckler.
- Sabres eventually knocked out in Conference semis despite Steve Shields' heroics.
- Shields only played because of a rumored spat between Hasek and Nolan.
- The bad blood eventually cost Muckler his job, after he had sided with Hasek in the fiasco.
- Incoming GM Darcy Regier offered the out-of-contract Nolan a one-year extension for $500,000.
- Nolan, having just on the Jack Adams Coach of the Year trophy, rejected the offer and went on his way.
- More recently, Nolan was VP of Hockey Operations with the Rochester Amerks, until Terry Pegula purchased the organization.
So here's a question for those of you who were around during the Nolan days - what do you remember most about his time here? A memorable quote, a snippet from a game, a particular quirk about the man, feel free to chime in and tell us your favorite memories about Ted Nolan.