DON’T GET ME STARTED starts with the relationship between President of Hockey Operations Pat Lafontaine and Coach Teddy Nolan.

It’s not as if they don’t know each other.  They do.  They go back together to the mid-90s.   Few fans know that after Larry Quinn and Darcy Regier let the coach-of-the-year leave Buffalo after receiving that honor, Pat and Teddy would again land on their feet.

First, after a stint with the New York Rangers, Pat Lafontaine accepted a position with the New York Islanders as Senior Advisor to the Owner, reportedly without pay in 2006.  Patty left the team six weeks after accepting the Islanders position.  There-s more to this story especially a quote by Mike Millbury but that might come in a later article.

Ted Nolan became the coach of the Islanders that same year.  In his first season with the Islanders in 2006–07, Nolan led the team to a 92 point season and its first playoff berth since 2003–04.

The point is that Teddy Nolan has been quite successful as an NHL head coach – first in Buffalo and then with the Islanders.  Why some desperate teams didn’t latch on to Nolan surprises many.

Nolan’s title with the Sabres is interim coach.  Deep down I think Lafontaine would love to take away the interim tag.

I hope that the new GM will not have any name in his noggin to become head coach.  Instead, he should look at the success of Nolan as head coach.  He should look at how the current crop of players on the team are responding to his approach and his teachings and coaching.  Some have said they would go against the wall for the guy.  The Sabres are playing better hockey as they get to know Nolan and he gets a better feel of their skill levels.

If the new GM wants a successful coach who has the respect of the players, he should look no further than Ted Nolan’s office.

IF, however, the GM (for whatever reason) would bring in a “buddy”, fans would respond negatively.  Teddy is very popular with the fans…..and with the media.  Such a move would move the team 6 steps backward – to the days of Regier and Rolston.  That would be unacceptable.

So this GM should say, “Ted Nolan is my coach” – enjoy the applause from the players and the fans and then have Patty give Nolan a 3 year contract as head coach on Don’t Get Me Started.

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