By John Vogl
Pen has finally met paper as Ted Nolan signed a contract extension today to stay on as head coach of the Buffalo Sabres.
“We are very happy to get this deal done and have Ted Nolan as our permanent head coach going forward,” General Manager Tim Murray said in a statement. “Teddy has proven time and again that he is an exceptional leader, motivator and teacher. He is exactly what we need in a head coach for our hockey team, and we’re confident in his ability to guide our players and turn this team around.”
Nolan, who was named interim coach in November, was set to sign the extension last month before the chaos erupted involving the departure of Pat LaFontaine, his friend and president of hockey operations. Nolan took a break to reassess the matter, and the contract has been in the hands of his agent for weeks.
“I said back in November that it was a dream to be able to come back and coach the Sabres, and that’s still true today,” Nolan said. “Hockey is my life, and Buffalo is a special place for hockey. I’m excited by the challenge facing our team and our organization, and I’m truly thankful to have this opportunity.”
The contract is believed to be a three-year deal. Nolan finally has the long-term contract with the Sabres he had desired since 1997, when he was named NHL Coach of the Year but left the team after a mere one-year offer by incoming GM Darcy Regier.
The Sabres were 4-15-1 when Nolan took over Nov. 13. They have gone 16-30-8 with him on the bench.
The Sabres' next game is Tuesday, when they host the New Jersey Devils.