On Monday, March 31 the Buffalo Sabres announced that they had officially removed the interim label from Ted Nolan’s job description, and signed him to a contract to keep him as the team’s head coach for the next three seasons.
"I'm really excited about going with the next step forward and helping shape this team into a very competitive team and a team that will hopefully one day battle for a championship," Nolan stated in a press conference following the announcement.
Since taking over as the interim head coach following the dismissal of Ron Rolston and General Manager Darcy Regier on Nov. 13, Nolan has led the Sabres to a 16-30-8 record in 52 games. They were 4-15-1 over the first 20 games with Rolston at the helm.
Nolan had previously coached the Sabres from 1995 to 1997, compiling a 73-72-19 record over the course of two seasons. After leading the Sabres to a Northeast Division Title in 1997 with a 40-30-12 record, Nolan received the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s best coach for that season.
However, with a change in personnel in the front office following that season, Nolan was let go by the team and did not return for the following season.
Nolan later spent two seasons as coach of the New York Islanders from 2006 to 2008, where he compiled a 74-68-21 record.
In 381 career games as an NHL coach, Nolan has a 163-170-48 overall record over the course of five seasons.
He has also been the coach for Team Latvia in international competitions since 2011, helping the team qualify for the quarterfinals for first time in team history in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Nolan now has his focus on helping turn the Sabres around after what has been their worst season in franchise history.
"We went through a lot of tough times and we're going to go through more tough times," said Nolan. "I really believe you've got to go through those rough waters in order for the smooth waters to come. Just because we got this deal done today, we're not going to get those smooth waters.
"We've got a little time to really turn this thing around. In order to turn around it's going to take some time, it's going to take some patience, it's going to take understanding and it's going to take some time for the young guys to mature. So with all those things involved, it's not going to switch overnight. It's going to take a little more time."