It won’t be long now until the entire NHL shuts down so that professional hockey players can represent their countries in the Winter Olympic games. The Buffalo Sabres have several Olympic representatives including goaltender Ryan Miller for Team USA and head coach Ted Nolan for the Latvian National team. While some of the Sabres are in Sochi competing for gold, the rest of the organization will be at home in Buffalo trying to prepare for the home stretch of an extremely disappointing season. There are three things the Sabres must do to retain fan interest and keep the team moving forward as the Mar. 5 trade deadline approaches.
Remove The Interim Tag From Ted Nolan
It seems like a belabored topic to people outside of Buffalo, but for the hockey fans in Western New York it is taking way too long to get that interim tag off of head coach Ted Nolan’s title. The longer the Sabres wait to make Nolan the official head coach, the more nervous the fanbase gets. The last thing the Sabres need is an agitated and nervous fanbase that could very easily disappear for the second half of the season.
Make A Decision On Phil Varone
While the Olympics are going on in Sochi, Sabres’ rookie forward Phil Varone could use some time with the AHL affiliate in Rochester to keep developing his skills. But it is going to be really difficult for the Sabres to send Varone back to Rochester for any extended period of time after the Olympic break is over because of how well he has looked in his first six NHL games. Varone seems to have the same sensibilities about the NHL as Sabres’ promising rookie Zemgus Girgensons. While it may make sense to send Varone down to Rochester to get him extended playing time, it may make more sense to give him that extended playing time in the NHL. To the fans and the hockey pundits in Buffalo the kid seems ready for his chance at a permanent roster spot.
Start Putting Out Some Strong Vibes On Trade Prospects
The Sabres have absolutely nothing to lose at this point by putting out some serious feelers for possible trade partners prior to the Mar. 5 trade deadline. So far, the Sabres have been pretty quiet about their trade intentions, and that made sense when new general manager Tim Murray was just getting his feet wet with the team. But the Sabres may be able to find a plethora of unexpected trade partners if they would just let the rest of the league know which players are really available and which ones are not.