ROCHESTER – During a trying season in which the Buffalo Sabres lost 59 times and finished 30th overall, former coach Ted Nolan, who was fired Sunday, made it “good on the guys,” captain Brian Gionta said.
Still, Gionta understands when a team finishes last, the coach is the first to fall.
“Obviously, it’s tough,” Gionta said Friday as the Americans, the Sabres’ AHL affiliate, played the Utica Comets. “We love Teddy. Teddy’s a great guy. He was great in the room, did a lot for us. … It’s tough to see him go, but it’s a result of how we played on the ice.”
Gionta didn’t expect Nolan would be fired.
“In this business, nothing’s out of the ordinary for that to happen,” he said.
Sabres general manager Tim Murray said he fired Nolan after talking to players Sunday. Did they have any issues with Nolan?
“No, Ted was a great guy,” Gionta said. “As far as the way he handle things, it was a tough year, we lost a lot. Things could’ve been much different. He did a good job handling things.”
Gionta, a Greece native, was at the Blue Cross War Memorial signing autographs.