When Tim Murray was introduced to the Buffalo media he faced numerous questions about the future of interim Coach Ted Nolan. Murray handled the questioning well, although by the end of the session he appeared miffed that several of the reporters wouldn’t drop the issue. It’s a question that he will have to answer over and over again until Nolan is either hired permanently or released.

When Pat LaFontaine brought Ted Nolan back to Buffalo he made it clear that he was a huge fan, but the new GM would have a final say. That is what Pat said, but those who know LaFontaine know that a new GM better have damn good reasons why Nolan shouldn’t stay. So far the team’s performance on the ice will not be an excuse to let Nolan go.

Tim Murray appears to have no direct connection to Nolan and said that their paths have crossed only casually over the years at various arenas. Certainly Murray is familiar with Nolan’s history and undoubtedly has heard horror stories about his tenure in Buffalo during the 90’s. Luckily for Ted, Pat LaFontaine is around this time to settle the rumors.

Anyone close to the Sabres in the late 1990’s knows that a campaign was waged against Ted Nolan’s reputation after he left Buffalo. The architects of that campaign were the ones responsible for him turning down a one year extension after being named NHL Coach of the Year. Ted Nolan was admittedly not the easiest guy for management to work with, but he was far from the bogey man they created.

Ted Nolan has proved in the two months he has been in Buffalo that his philosophy of hard work and dedication to detail pays off results. The Sabres are not in the upper half of the league, but they are now no longer the guaranteed win that they were to opposition back in November. Ted Nolan has made a difference.

Tim Murray will have a little over three months to get to know Ted Nolan better. Murray has been around and while this is his first General Manager’s job in the NHL, he has plenty of hands on experience. Tim Murray certainly has an opinion now on whether Nolan should stay or leave. It will be interesting to see how much that changes one way or another come April.

I’m guessing Ted Nolan would be happy to let the performance of the team speak for itself when it comes to time to decide if he should stay. However, this time he will have an ally in the front office that he didn’t have in 1997.

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