The Buffalo Sabres made some big changes Wednesday morning, when they overhauled the face of their franchise by firing general manager Darcy Regier and head coach Ron Rolston. Those two were replaced by Pat LaFontaine (in a new president of hockey operations title) and interim head coach Ted Nolan.
As if it wasn’t obvious, the pair said at their introductory press conference that they were looking to change the culture of the hockey club. Apparently that doesn’t necessarily mean ridding the team of two potential liabilities.
Nolan met with the media once again following Sabres practice Wednesday afternoon. That press conference had more to do with the nuts and bolts of the on-ice product, the team Nolan will oversee for at least the rest of the season. The Sabres are one of the worst teams in the league for a reason, and much of that has to do with an untalented roster.
However, Nolan plans on rolling with arguably the team’s least-talented player John Scott for the time being. The enforcer, Nolan says, will remain in the fold, despite widespread feelings that he’s not good for much of anything on the ice than punching people in the face. He’s very good at punching people in the face, and he certainly fills that role, but he offers very little in any other part of the game. [tweet https://twitter.com/BNHarrington/status/400693228481302528 align=’center’]
Coincidentally, Nolan’s first game behind the Buffalo bench will come Friday night when the Sabres take on the Toronto Maple Leafs. It’s the first regular-season meeting between the two Atlantic Division rivals, and it marks their first meeting since a Sept. 23 preseason game that featured a line brawl. That all started when Scott tried to pick a fight with Leafs star Phil Kessel. So it’s certainly possible that gets revisited Friday night.
Speaking of revisiting, Nolan also said Wednesday that he’s open to bringing back Patrick Kaleta. The agitating forward was recently waived by the Sabres after serving his latest suspension, a 10-game ban. He unsurprisingly cleared waivers before being sent to Rochester of the AHL. [tweet https://twitter.com/BNHarrington/status/400695138072023040 align=’center’]