It looks as if the Buffalo Sabres are a step closer to removing the “interim” tag from Ted Nolan’s title. At least that’s what can be inferred from his comments after the team practice on Monday morning.
When asked for an update on his contract, Nolan said it was being worked on between his representative and Sabres general manager Tim Murray.
“I’ve put it into my representative’s hands and I guess him and Tim will be talking soon if not have talked already,” Nolan said. “Just formalities and getting a couple things ironed out and doing all the legal stuff. We’ll leave it in their hands.”
Nolan was hired Nov. 13 for his second stint as the Sabres head coach. He compiled a 73-72-19 record in two seasons with the Sabres after he was first hired in 1995.
The popular coach returned with the interim tag and after Tim Murray was hired as the team’s general manager in early January there has been speculation about if he would keep Nolan as coach.
There reportedly was a contract ready to be announced but it was delayed by the sudden resignation of Pat LaFontaine as president of hockey operations and with the trade of Ryan Miller and Steve Ott to the St. Louis Blues coupled with the NHL trade deadline frenzy.
“We did talk about contract,” Nolan said last week. “Right now is not about my contract. It’s about the situation that just happened. It’s about what transpired in this organization, what happened to a very dear friend.
“I have to put my personal situation behind right now and really concentrate on those 22 guys here. That was the main reason I got here was to try and turn things around and coach the Buffalo Sabres.”
And from public comments, Murray wants Nolan as head coach.
“If he wants to be here, I want him to be our coach,” Murray said at a news conference last week. “I can’t speculate whether he does or not, and I’m not going to beg anybody to come and work here. I want people that want to be here. I want players that want to be here. We want Teddy to be our coach going forward.”
Tyler Myers woke up Monday morning with his leg feeling much better. And the Sabres breathed a sigh of relief. They already have four players injured, They really couldn’t afford another one.
Myers got his leg tangled late in the first period of Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Chicago at First Niagara Center. He limped off to the dressing room, returned to the game, but appeared to be hurting.
He missed practice on Monday, but Nolan said that it was a rest day.
“We were hoping it wasn’t as serious as it looked but you never know overnight,” Nolan said. “So it had a good night’s rest and it feels pretty good so it’s just more of a maintenance day for him.”
Also still out with injuries suffered in Florida were Zemgus Girgensons (undisclosed), Chris Stewart (lower body), Torrey Mitchell (lower body) and Alexander Sulzer (undisclosed).
Tonight’s game will mark the first game in Buffalo for Paul Gaustad since he was traded to the Nashville Predators at the 2012 trade deadline. The 32-year-old center has 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in 64 games with Nashville this year.
Gaustad played seven seasons in Buffalo starting in the 2005-06 season scoring 71 goals with 181 points.
The Predators were headed to Buffalo after playing in Ottawa on Monday, where they were looking to end their four-game losing skid.