Ted Nolan returned to the Buffalo Sabres early this season to replace coach Ron Rolston on an interim basis. That interim tag is about to be removed.
According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, a three-year extension is being finalized for Nolan to become the official bench boss. Once it goes through the language ringer it should be a done deal.
In his second tour with the Sabres, Nolan wasn't given a tremendous spot to succeed, taking over a team that was well on its way to the worst record in the NHL as the Sabres begin the reconstruction. That's what made Nolan's ability to get the Sabres playing better hockey so impressive and add to the belief that Nolan's second stint shouldn't end prematurely like his first one did.
However it was never a guarantee to happen given the reshaping of the franchise from top to bottom. Nolan came on with Pat LaFontaine in the overhaul and without a GM. When the Sabres did hire Tim Murray to run the team, there was uncertainty whether Nolan would still be the guy. After all, it's normal for GMs to want their own coaches.
Matters were further muddied when LaFontaine unexpectedly stepped down from his very short-lived role as the President of Hockey Operations. Nolan seemed to be blindsided and nobody knew what it might mean going forward.
Murray, though, maintained that the Sabres were interested in keeping Nolan around and it looks like he's sticking true to his word.
The good thing for Nolan is that Murray and everybody else know what the Sabres are getting in to, there should be some more patience as the team is expected to slump.
Nolan has coached the Sabres in 48 games this season with the team going 15-26-7, a record dampened by a recent six-game losing streak. Under Rolson the Sabres started 4-15-1. Nolan also coached Latvia at the Olympics and led them to a somewhat surprising showing, giving Canada fits in the quarterfinals before losing.