BUFFALO – In a not-so-surprising move, the Sabres fired Ted Nolan tonight, ending the popular coach’s second run here.
The rebuilding Sabres just finished the season 30th overall.
In addition, the team also fired assistant coach Danny Flynn and won’t renew the contracts of assistants Bryan Trottier and Tom Coolen.
Stay tuned for more details.
Update: General manager Tim Murray said he decided to fire Nolan today after six hours of interviews with players.
“I’ve said all along I want to improve this team every day. Today, I came to the conclusion a change may help us improve,” Murray said.
More from Murray, who awarded Nolan a three-year extension last year after Pat LaFontaine brought him back to the Sabres.
On their relationship:
“It was never about that he wasn’t my guy. It was can we have a great relationship, and again, I take a lot of the blame. We didn’t have a great relationship, we had a decent relationship. We didn’t hate each other. We spoke. But maybe going back to, again, player personnel decisions, going back to him not being consulted on trade deadline, those are things that I think are normal that maybe somebody else doesn’t think is normal.”
He added: “We discussed that, and we said we hoped it worked and we would try to make it work. I’m not hiding anything. There were no big fights or arguments or anything like that. There might’ve been a somewhat lack of communication, and that’s as much on me as him. So there was no incident that caused me to make this decision.”
On the fit:
“I don’t think it was a bad fit. I don’t think it was a great fit. We both said after it’s too bad it didn’t work out. Is it chemistry? Maybe it’s just chemistry, maybe it’s just two different personalities. You need chemistry on the ice, and you need chemistry off the ice. Who’s to blame for that? He’s not to blame for that. … You have to find a perfect fit to be really successful, and maybe it really wasn’t a perfect fit. That doesn’t mean it was bad.”
On not offering a lot of details:
“I’m certainly not going to stand here and run Ted Nolan down, so if that means not completely answering a question based on specific things, then so be it.”
On their communication:
“There might’ve been a couple of occasions where he thought a certain guy might’ve been the guy to come up, and that wasn’t the guy based on feedback from down there. He never expressed disappointment in that.”
On if Nolan would still be with the Sabres if they had finished 24th or 25:
“Maybe, I can’t answer that. I didn’t foresee us being a 30th-place team. Certainly after the trade, I had a big part in that and I own that, but up until the trade deadline I was open to keeping guys. I was opening to discussing contracts with guys that were coming due. But the place we were in is the place we were in. We had one pretty good run.”
On the coaching search:
“Today’s today. A good man loses his job. We’ll look to the future tomorrow.”
Murray said goalie Arturs Irbe still has a year left on his deal.
“I haven’t decided what exactly what I want to do with him going forward,” he said.