MONTREAL – Jamie McBain wanted to know why he was sitting so much. So the defenseman dissected the four games he had played under Ted Nolan, the Buffalo Sabres’ new interim coach.
“I couldn’t come to an answer myself,” McBain said Saturday prior to the Sabres’ 3-2 loss to the Canadiens inside the Bell Centre.
So the 25-year-old, a healthy scratch four straight games recently, approached Nolan.
“I wanted to kind of hear his opinion on it,” McBain said. “(He) was kind of straightforward with me. We had a good talk. It just kind of cleared the air a little bit.”
What did Nolan say?
“He asked me why he was out,” Nolan said. “There was no specific reason why. It was just one of those try to find out who’s who on this team. He was just one of those guys that had the least amount of problems at the beginning. We had to fix the other guys.”
Basically, McBain’s solid game cost him his spot. But he understands what a tough task Nolan has taking over a team during the season and evaluating on the fly.
“It’s almost like a new training camp,” McBain said. “He comes in, whatever, 20 games into the season. He hasn’t been able to see everybody like he would through a training camp. It’s almost like training camp starts all over again and you kind of got to earn your spot all over again.”
Nolan skated McBain a season-high 23:50 in his return, Thursday’s 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers.
“I’ve really liked his game,” Nolan said.
McBain appreciates Nolan being so straightforward with him.
“That’s all you can really ask for, kind of shooting straight, telling you exactly what’s going on,” McBain said. “That’s what he does.”
Nolan has impressed McBain, someone he didn’t know previously. He had heard positive things about him through the grapevine, however.
“Just from my short little (time) here, this part, it’s been great,” McBain said.
McBain arrived in Buffalo from Carolina during the summer with a reputation as an offensive defenseman.
So far, he’s produced a bit, compiling two goals and five points in 17 games entering Saturday.
Nolan isn’t worried about McBain’s offense, though,
“We have to have an overall good game from him,” he said.
Notes: The Sabres made one lineup change, inserting forward Brian Flynn, a healthy scratch last game, for tough guy John Scott. … Legendary Bills running back Thurman Thomas attended the game. The Canadiens showed him on the video boards wearing Sabres gear. They also tweeted a photo of him wearing a Montreal jersey.