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Ruff vs. Rolston by the numbers: Where did the Sabres improve?

By Mike Harrington

I did some number-crunching today on the Sabres' stats under Lindy Ruff and the comparable numbers under Ron Rolston and found no real dramatic changes. A bad hockey team under the old coach was still a pretty bad hockey team at times under the new one.

Games were a little tighter under Rolston, who seemed to pull back on some of Ruff's four-in-the-zone rushes with defenseman pinching up. Buffalo's goals-for dropped a little but it's goals-against came down by more than half a goal under Rolston, so that was good.

The Sabres simply didn't have the puck enough by any measure, whether you're looking at traditional stats, new-wave analytics or the basic eye test that resulted in fan boos. Opponents average 33.5 shots per game against Ruff's Sabres and 33.5 shots per game against Rolston's. Odd. The Sabres were last in the league in shots against.

Continue reading "Ruff vs. Rolston by the numbers: Where did the Sabres improve?" »

Video: Vogl, Harrington on Rolston as Sabres coach

John Vogl and Mike Harrington report from First Niagara Center where on May 7 the Sabres named interim coach Ron Rolston the team's permanent head coach.

Replay raw video: Ron Rolston news conference

Earlier today, Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier named Ron Rolston as the team's permanent coach. Watch a news conference with Rolston here when it begins at 11 a.m. today:

Sabres sticking with Rolston as head coach

By John Vogl

Ron Rolston really wanted to see what he could do in a normal NHL season. This truncated lockout year deprived teams of practice and teaching time, two things Rolston feels he can do really well. Following the season finale, he lamented the inability to do them.

He'll get his chance now.

The Sabres have removed the interim tag for Rolston, who was named the team's permanent head coach this morning.

General Manager Darcy Regier and Rolston will make a formal announcement at an 11 a.m. news conference in First Niagara Center.

Rolston, who took over for Lindy Ruff on Feb. 20, went 15-11-5 with the Sabres. They were tied for the youngest team in the NHL at various points in the season, and they are likely to retain that title next season.

Rolston came into the organization with a reputation for being a teacher after a long stint with the U.S. National Team Development Program, and the club will need an instructor for the young players.

The 46-year-old is the 16th head coach in team history. A big question revolves around his assistants.

The Sabres promoted Rolston from Rochester to replace Ruff, but they kept all of the longtime coach's assistants, notably James Patrick, Teppo Numminen, Kevyn Adams and Jim Corsi. Rolston's assistants remained in Rochester, with Chadd Cassidy assuming the interim head role with the Amerks.

Rolston may want to surround himself with coaches he knows.

Rolston was under contract with the organization through at least the end of June, so the Sabres could have taken more time for a coaching search. It's unclear whether they interviewed anyone. A representative for Patrick Roy said the Hall of Fame goaltender and junior coaching prospect said Monday he was not contacted.

Watch live video of the Sabres' press conference here at 11 a.m.

Sabres' coaching search has not included Patrick Roy, his junior team says

By John Vogl

The Sabres are still without a permanent coach, but it appears Patrick Roy is not in the sights of General Manager Darcy Regier at the moment.

Roy, the Hall of Fame goaltender who is coach, GM and co-owner of the Quebec Remparts, is a much-discussed choice to become a coach in the NHL. But apparently that discussion is only among fans and media.

Continue reading "Sabres' coaching search has not included Patrick Roy, his junior team says" »

NHL announces three finalists for Rookie of the Year

By John Vogl

NHL awards season has begun.

The league has announced the finalists for the Calder Trophy, given annually to the Rookie of the Year. The three candidates are Brendan Gallagher of Montreal, Jonathan Huberdeau of Florida and Brandon Saad of Chicago.

Voting, done by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, has already been completed. (For the record, Gallagher was the top choice on my ballot.) The winners of all the awards will be announced during the Stanley Cup finals. The league's annual award show got axed because of the lockout but will return to Las Vegas next season.

The Sabres are expected to get shut out of the award process for the third straight season. In 2010, Ryan Miller won the Vezina Trophy and the Foundation Player Award, and Tyler Myers won the Calder.

Regier says decision on Sabres' coach coming 'fairly soon'


Ron Rolston Sabres interim coach
Sabres interim coach Ron Rolston went 15-11-5 after taking over for Lindy Ruff in February.


By John Vogl

Darcy Regier will announce Ron Rolston's fate in the near future, the Sabres' general manager said today.

Regier and Rolston met earlier this week about whether to remove Rolston's tag of interim coach. Rolston went 15-11-5 after taking over for Lindy Ruff in February.

"No decisions yet," Regier told reporters in Rochester as part of the Amerks' locker clean-out day. "Fairly soon in the case of the head coach in Buffalo, and then Rochester will follow. Those are conversations we’re going to have."

Regier again said the team is interested in moving up from the eighth spot in the draft.

"I have talked to the teams that are in front of us, or most of them, and if we’re in a position to move up it’s something that we would entertain doing," Regier said, "but we also feel this is a deep draft."

Video: Bucky and Sully analyze Sabres' end-of-season news conference

News Sports Columnists Bucky Gleason and Jerry Sullivan discuss the Sabres' heated, end-of-season news conference during the live show.


With Sabres looking to move up from No. 8, trades have been rare but worth it

By John Vogl

Darcy Regier has made it clear he wants to move up in the draft. The Sabres hold the No. 8 overall pick, and the general manager has made calls to teams that are picking in front of Buffalo.

It will be a chore trying to convince a fellow GM to deal, based on history.

In the 25 drafts since 1988, the teams holding the eighth pick have moved up just twice. In both trades, the team had to give up a second-round pick to jump just a few spots.

It was definitely worth it.

Continue reading "With Sabres looking to move up from No. 8, trades have been rare but worth it" »

It was about the playoffs for Amerks, and several Sabres prospects showed well

By John Vogl

Despite a key talking point lately, it is in fact about the playoffs. It's the best hockey of the year, and players build or enhance their reputations during the postseason.

Zemgus Girgensons sure did.

The 19-year-old had an non-descript regular season in Rochester, but he was the Amerks' best player as the team lost all three games to Toronto. (Read all about him here.)

“Best player on the team. Best player on the ice,” said Amerks forward Cody McCormick, the former Sabres tough guy who was no slouch himself against the Marlies.

Continue reading "It was about the playoffs for Amerks, and several Sabres prospects showed well" »

A tradition like no other: The CBC playoff montage

By Mike Harrington

I'm not going to go all Jim Mora on you and ask what playoffs are. After all, your "suffering" is just beginning.

But the Stanley Cup playoffs did, in fact, start this week and that means CBC's annual montage to get your blood flowing. As usual, the folks north of the border did an incredible job.

This one has gone all over the Internet the last couple days but since I don't get CBC (Verizon FIOS, work on that!!!), I had not seen it until yesterday.

Great stuff. Campbell-Umberger makes it. So does an old black & white interview with Tim Horton at 2:20. And Chills when you hear the voices of the likes of Danny Gallivan and Foster Hewitt. (Don't know? Google 'em, kids)

As Amerks try to avoid elimination, Leggio keeps it loose by debating shorts vs. pants

By John Vogl

The Amerks host Toronto tonight in Game Three of their playoff series, and Rochester will try to avoid getting swept in the best-of-five. The Amerks will again turn to David Leggio in net after Matt Hackett started Game Two.

While I was in Rochester on Tuesday, Kevin Oklobzija of the Democrat and Chronicle asked Leggio about the team's dressing-room discussions in an attempt to gauge the Amerks' mind-set. He got an answer no one there is likely to forget. Take a listen below.

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |