As expected: Sabres fire coach Ted Nolan
Buffalo Sabres head coach Ted Nolan directs his players during a break in action against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on March 7, 2014. (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images/AFP)
It was the worst kept secret in hockey.
And on Sunday, the axe finally came down on Sabres coach Ted Nolan.
When general manager Tim Murray failed to give Nolan a solid vote of confidence in February during a press conference for the blockbuster deal with the Winnipeg Jets that brought Evander Kane to Buffalo, you knew the writing was on the dressing room wall for the beleaguered bench boss.
Sure enough, that’s the way it played out.
Along with Nolan’s firing, the Sabres also announced that assistant coaches Danny Flynn, Bryan Trottier and Tom Coolen will not be back.
Nolan was in a no-win situation since there was pressure within the Buffalo market to finish as low as possible in order to get a better draft position to potentially pick either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel, the two blue-chip prospects available this summer.
Ironically, while the Sabres ensured that they’ll get one of those players by finishing dead last, Nolan won’t be around to coach either in Buffalo.
The moved sparked speculation that billionaire owner Terry Pegula will take a hard run at landing Mike Babcock in the event the Red Wings coach doesn’t return to Detroit.
The presence of McDavid or Eichel certainly makes the job more enticing.