By John Vogl
UNIONDALE -- The Sabres' Ted Nolan will be back on a bench in Nassau Coliseum tonight for the first time since being let go by the Islanders in 2008. One of his favorite moments as coach in New York was the game he didn't coach.
Nolan stepped aside for a game so Islanders legend Al Arbour could coach his 1,500th career game. Arbour led his longtime team to a 3-2 win over Pittsburgh on Nov. 3, 2007.
Nolan came up with the idea of a one-day contract after speaking with owner Charles Wang.
"Charles had little meetings once in a while on how to get more people in the building, maybe some celebrities coming to town," Nolan said today after the Sabres' morning skate. "I walk by this locker room every day, and I seen 1,499 games coached.
"I just brought it up one meeting, ‘I know how to sell out a building. We could sell it out mid-July, Sunday morning, it doesn’t matter. People will come, especially for a legend like Al Arbour.' That whole night, it was kind of like standing behind the bench with Toe Blake, Vince Lombardi. Al’s a legend. To see the way the people reacted and see the game the way it went, to come back and tie up Pittsburgh, 2-2, and all of a sudden beat them, 3-2, it was one of those magical nights I’ll always remember."
Tonight doesn't promise to be as memorable. The 30th-place Sabres will visit the 27th-place Isles.
Buffalo will be without defenseman Tyler Myers, who hurt his arm Thursday. Myers could miss Sunday's home game against Montreal, too.
"He’ll definitely miss today, possibly tomorrow, but hopefully we’ll get him back by the long trip," said Nolan, whose team goes to western Canada next week. "He went to finish his hit and kind of missed the guy a little bit."
The Sabres have recalled defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen to take Myers' place. To hear from Nolan and Ristolainen, click the audio files below.