Bet on it. In the next week or so, the hapless Buffalo Sabres will trade or waive at least one underachieving veteran.
Ted Nolan has seen enough just four games into his tenure.
“The gloves are officially off,” the interim coach told reporters Thursday in Philadelphia following the Sabres’ weak 4-1 loss, their third straight setback. “Now we got to do certain things in order to play. If you don’t, you’re not.”
The youth excuse is out, he said. Nolan and Pat LaFontaine, the president of hockey operations, jettisoned three rookies Tuesday, their first major moves. Nolan filled his lineup with veterans against the Flyers. He dressed one first-year player, winger Zemgus Girgensons.
Yet the Sabres still got outshot 46-30 and took seven penalties.
“They’re not the problem,” Nolan said about the youngsters. “Everybody’s telling me the young guys are the problem. They ain’t here anymore. So we don’t have that excuse anymore. So we have to look at ourselves in the mirror and bring what each and everybody on this team has to bring.”
Nolan warned, “Penalties are going to stop (or) people who are doing it are not going to be in the lineup. It’s plain and simple as that.”
Defenseman Tyler Myers took two penalties after scoring Thursday. His third-period cross-checking infraction helped Vincent Lecavlier ice the game.
Center Ville Leino, who has two points in 11 games, was whistled for slashing. Nolan has already moved the Finn from a scoring trio to the fourth line. His minutes have dropped from 18:08 to 11:02. He has six shots all season and passed to tough guy John Scott on a two-on-one break early Thursday.
Myers isn’t going anywhere. Leino, meanwhile, is untradeable given his six-year, $27 million contract. He’s almost certainly getting bought out this offseason. Perhaps the Sabres will just cut their losses now.
“In order to change up we have to change the whole thing,” Nolan said. “We’ve seen enough. It’s been 25 games and I’ve seen enough in four games only. We have to change some things, and the players are either going to do it or it’s going to be a very, very long year. And they might not be here.”
4 thoughts on “Ted Nolan’s strong words mean Sabres will start making more moves”
Interesting. Very interesting.
Thanks for the reporting, Bill.
Fantastic work Bill. Keep it up! The Leino signing is another horrendous one for Buffalo. Too many years and too many dollars. Then they put him in uncomfortable positions. Totally different world from Philadelphia. Like the Rangers with Drury after his Buffalo days. This team is a mess. They should gut all the way at this point and rebuild for next year and beyond.
Interesting. I don’t disagree with anything he said, I just wonder if he was actually upset with Leino. I thought that was the best effort he has shown here in a long time. Two Delay of Game penalities and a bench minor for Too Many on the Ice is terrible. There is no getting around the fact that Darcy built this team to help them get Reinhart in June. Every area of concern last season was ignored in free agency. These players just have to better than they are right now. But these games are easier to watch, at least, despite the record remaining dismal. Leino did have drive last night. Grigs had effort. It’s better. Not good … but better.
Thanks, Brian. That was just postgame audio, though.