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Vulgar Opinions: Why I’ve Come To Hate Ted Nolan (NSFW)

02/10/14

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I didn’t always hate Ted Nolan.  In fact for a while I was impressed with how he seemed to get more out of his players than anyone had any right to expect, like a bunch of mediocre-besides-the-goalie Sabres teams and Islanders teams that were probably worse.  When he was brought on to coach the Sabres I pretty much thought the hiring was irrelevant.  Plus Ron Rolston was so much of a lame duck that it seemed like anything would be an improvement.  The terrible hockey…it changes you man.

I hate Ted Nolan.  Why do I hate Ted Nolan?  Hoo boy.  John Scott.  I actually love John Scott, but why does this guy get a chance to do anything before Linus Omark, or Ville Leino, or literally anyone else on the roster?  Do you know which regular Sabre (read: played more than a handful of games) has the highest percentage of offensive zone starts?  John Scott.  Seriously.

I hate Ted Nolan because Mike Weber and Jamie McBain are frequently on the ice in important situations.  I hate Ted Nolan because Mike Weber is on the ice.  I hate Ted Nolan because Mike Weber is in the starting line-up, like, ever.  I hate Ted Nolan because Mike Weber is.  (And say what you will about Mike Weber but at least he’s had the decency to be so obviously and so apocalyptically bad that even the most xenophobic of Sabres fans (hi Vanek, Hecht, and Sekera haters) want to shoot him into space.)  I know, I know, ‘Tank Commander’ and all that.  But nowhere in Jeremy White’s Grand Manual of Sucking does it say that you need to play the most awful, uninspiring, one-goal-a-game hockey while tanking.  Actually, maybe it does, it’s a big manual.

I hate Ted Nolan because Linus Omark barely got a chance, because his most common line mates according to Behind the Net were somehow Jamie McBain, Christian Ehrhoff and the black hole that wears number six.  I hate Ted Nolan because I’ve watched John Scott and Zenon Konopka and Cody McCormick play a combined 71 games for this team and I watched Linus Omark play 13.

I hate Ted Nolan because everyone tells me he hates young players and sticking the likes of Zadorov and Ristolainen and Grigorenko and Pysyk anywhere but the Sabres feels a little like me wrapping chicken bones in plastic bags and putting them back in the fridge removing any chance that my dog will completely and utterly destroy them.

But the main reason I hate Ted Nolan is Compete Level.  Oh yes, Compete Level.  What better way than to cater to our moronic, mouthbreating, “blue collar” fan base by inventing the old time hockey-est of old time hockey terms and using it to evaluate players like it means anything at all.  I’m so glad he developed such a useful code phrase for xenophobic Sabres fans (really this is a lot better than “lazy”) to talk shit about athletes they don’t like.  (In Paul Hamilton’s case, this will be done exclusively to Mikhail Grigorenko…unless we somehow acquire Alex Semin, then look out!)

I mean, my god Ted, did this fanbase really need any more help making an ass out of itself?  Have you read @SabresFacebook?  Need I remind you that one of our media personalities happily blasts off into the Twitter void that the GM doesn’t matter so long as you acquire a top pick?  And that was after I tried to railroad him into a response of “well of course GM matters, that’s just silly, what I really mean is that high picks provide the best starting tools to work with.”  That train is a charred pile of scrap iron at the bottom of a canyon right now.

Is that worse than the other media personality that wanted the team to trade for a rental player?  I don’t honestly know!  This is the level of discussion we’re starting with Ted and you just came in and started whacking away with the dumb-dumb stick.  Oh my god, Compete Level, it would make me sick if I wasn’t having so much fun lampooning it with quantifiable (hits!) stats.  At least most of the aforementioned prospects aren’t from countries Sabres fans have a problem with like Russia or Finland or…oh god, we’re fucked.

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