Firing bench boss Ron Rolston didn’t pay immediate dividends for the Buffalo Sabres. After all, the team is just 3-8-1 under Ted Nolan.
That’s not surprising. Buffalo was never expected to be anywhere near good this season, so it would have been truly remarkable had Nolan found a way to nearly instantly turn Buffalo into a contender.
So the Sabres remain a project, but at least Nolan is seeing signs that they are making progress.
“Before you can compete you have to trust. You have to be reliable and you have to be accountable,” Nolan told the Buffalo News. “Right now and in the last couple games, I really felt the guys are competing hard and they’re trusting one another. They’re feeling good about themselves. … Overall the trust is coming and the compete level is coming and everything is going in the right direction.”
He’s not alone in that belief. Although Buffalo suffered a 2-1 loss on Thursday to Ottawa, Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller felt it “was one of our better efforts.”
The Sabres already 19 points out of a playoff spot, so even with more than half the season left, the practical question is if they can give their fanbase reasons to be hopeful for the 2014-15 campaign.
Mike Weaver has retired. The 37-year-old defenseman made the announcement today via the NHLPA.
“What an enjoyable experience to do something you love for 11 years in the NHL and 15 years in professional hockey,” said Weaver in a release. “I could never have imagined this. Hockey is more than just a game to me. Thanks to the Atlanta Thrashers, Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues, Florida Panthers and the Montreal Canadiens.
“I would also like to thank the fans who brought the energy and excitement every night to the arenas. When the game starts, your teammates are who you trust, rely on and respect the most. Thank you to all my teammates for all the memories that will last a lifetime.”
Undrafted out of Michigan State, Weaver ended up playing 633 games in the NHL, plus 28 more in the playoffs.
Dylan Larkin — despite being just 19 years old — will begin the season on the Detroit Red Wings, a team not normally accustomed to having teenagers in the lineup.
Coach Jeff Blashill confirmed the news this morning. Larkin could apparently start on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader.
Larkin, the 15th overall pick in the 2014 draft, had three goals and one assist in five preseason games. A natural center, he’s shown the potential to one day step into the kind of “big-time” role that Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk have played for so long in Detroit.
“You have to give our scouts credit,” former coach Mike Babcock told ESPN in May. “We got a great pick where we picked. How high end is he? How soon?”
Related: Coaching change ‘one of the reasons’ Larkin signed with Wings