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LaFontaine

Ted Nolan has help elevate the play of Drew Stafford (left) and Tyler Ennis (right). ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – Drew Stafford’s first conversation with Sabres coach Ted Nolan lasted no more than two minutes, the winger said. It was a straightforward, “man-to-man” chat.

“Looking-at-me-in-the-eyes kind of conversation,” Stafford said Monday, hours after the Sabres removed Nolan’s interim tag and gave him a three-year contract extension.

Stafford was struggling badly back in mid-November. He had one goal and had just lost his alternate captaincy. Nolan didn’t care. As a veteran, Stafford deserved respect. Nolan immediately upped his ice time.

“Just that …

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Ted Nolan had his interim tag removed today. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Tim Murray has been watching Sabres coach Ted Nolan closely for months. In trying times, the general manager said, he’s liked Nolan’s work.

The Sabres, despite the NHL’s weakest roster and worst record, still compete most nights. Murray likes Nolan’s work with the youngsters and his popularity with the veterans.

“All I’ve heard is positives,” Murray said this afternoon in announcing a three-year contract extension and removing Nolan’s interim tag.

For Nolan, who also coached the Sabres from 1995-97, Buffalo is …

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Ted Nolan re-joined the Sabres on Nov. 13. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Sabres removed the interim tag from Ted Nolan today, signing the coach to a reported three-year contract extension.

While the rebuilding club is 16-30-8 under Nolan, the culture around the Sabres has changed dramatically. Nolan’s straightforward approach has connected with many players, most notably center Tyler Ennis and winger Drew Stafford, who have been thriving in recent months.

“We are very happy to get this deal done and have Ted Nolan as our permanent head coach going forward,” Sabres …

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Ryan Miller has been facing fewer shots in St. Louis. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

TORONTO – Nights like Tuesday are acceptable now. Former Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller wasn’t dynamic in the St. Louis Blues’ 5-3 victory against the Maple Leafs. He looked average, even a bit shaky at times while making only 22 saves.

But Miller doesn’t have to be perfect these days. The 33-year-old’s tending goal for the NHL’s best team, not its worst.

Miller is 8-2-1 since the blockbuster Feb. 28 deal sent the franchise goalie and captain Steve Ott to the powerhouse …

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Steve Ott has won 10 of the 13 games he's played with St. Louis. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

TORONTO – Steve Ott is no longer the guy, just one piece of arguably the NHL’s deepest club, the powerhouse St. Louis Blues. Of course, the popular former Buffalo Sabres captain knew he was joining special team.

But how good is St. Louis?

Tuesday’s 5-3 win against Maple Leafs was the Blues’ 10th victory in 13 games since acquiring Ott and franchise goalie Ryan Miller on Feb. 28.

Ott won only 17 of the 59 games he played with the rebuilding Sabres, including …

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Steve Ott skates this morning. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

TORONTO – Steve Ott’s opinion of the Buffalo Sabres hasn’t changed. The former captain still believes the rebuilding club’s future can be bright.

Still, the gritty winger is “disappointed” Pat LaFontaine resigned as the team’s president of hockey operations March 1, a day after the Sabres traded Ott and franchise goalie Ryan Miller to the St. Louis Blues.

“I thought he was a phenomenal man,” Ott said this afternoon inside the Air Canada Centre after the Blues prepared for tonight’s game against …

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Ted Nolan could become the Sabres' permanent coach soon. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Ted Nolan should be returning to the Sabres next season.

The interim coach said Monday his representative is handling a new contract with Sabres general manager Tim Murray.

“I guess he and Tim will be talking soon if (they haven’t) talked already,” Nolan said inside the First Niagara Center after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s game against the Nashville Predators. “It’s formalities and getting things ironed out and doing all the legal stuff. … We’ll leave it in their hands …

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Ted Nolan returned to the Sabres in November. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – Ted Nolan sounds like he will be returning to the Sabres next season.

The interim coach said this afternoon his representative is handling a new contract with Sabres general manager Tim Murray.

“I guess he and Tim will be talking soon if not talked already,” Nolan said inside the First Niagara Center. “It’s formalities and getting things ironed out and doing all the legal stuff. … We’ll leave it in their hands for now.”

Pat LaFontaine, who brought Nolan back to …

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Ted Nolan has a contract extension offer from the Sabres. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Two days after Ted Nolan appeared devastated discussing the sudden departure of his close friend, Pat LaFontaine, igniting speculation he could also be leaving the Sabres, the interim coach sounded like someone who’s staying put.

Nolan has an extension on the table from the Sabres, something he said he might tackle next week.

“There’s a lot more important issues than getting my contract signed,” Nolan told reporters Tuesday in Tampa Bay. “It’s in the proper hands. People are looking at …

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Cory Conacher was waived today. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

Hey, winger Cory Conacher might fit in pretty well in Buffalo. The 24-year-old Canisius product has four goals and 20 points in 59 games this season. Only five Sabres have more points.

The Ottawa Senators waived Conacher today, immediately igniting speculation the Sabres, who have the first claim thanks to their 30th overall ranking, would grab him.

On the surface, it seems like a natural fit. Conacher’s the most decorated local NCAA product ever. He’s from nearby Burlington, about an hour across …

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