Be sure to pick up Sunday's editions of The Buffalo News to read our annual NHL Preview Section, chock-full of great reads, sharp photography and eye-popping graphics from The News' award-winning design department.
The cover story by John Vogl is a fascinating look inside the mind and hockey background of The Professor, Sabres coach Ron Rolston. He has graduated from the ranks of U.S. colleges and the National Development Team program to get his first full-time gig in the NHL and be the Sabres' first new coach since Lindy Ruff took over 1997.
The story features the insight of several Rolston contemporaries topped by Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson, who gave Rolston his first coaching job as an assistant at Lake Superior State.
"It's like getting a doctorate, basically, working under Jeff and learning about the game," Rolston said. "I was very fortunate because a lot of people don't get that mentorship right away. I was able to right off the bat learn from the best and then have a good foundation moving forward."
My main assignment was a feature on Sabres agitator Steve Ott, a mouth that roars and never stops while he drives opponents crazy. Said teammate Patrick Kaleta of Ott: "It would be funny to see what his Google searches are, that's for sure."
One thing I wasn't able to get into the story was how Ott spent his summer -- as a crew member for his father, Butch, who is a decorated power-boat racer.
"It's nerve-wracking for me. That's my dad out there," Ott told me last week. "I know he's highly competitive and he's going to go to the max, to the edge to win. His mindset is where I got my mindset from. There's only one way. For him, he's got his own boat race going. It's win or swim. He's either flipping or going for a win. To watch him sometimes barrel roll or flip that boat going 100 mph, things get pretty nerve-wracking. I never want to see him banged up."
Also in the section, Vogl provides an incredible travelogue with restaurant and sight-seeing recommendations in every NHL city and I take a look back at the wild history of the Sabres uniforms. There's also Vogl's reasons for optimism and pessimism on the Sabres and full capsules of every NHL team.
Be sure to pick it up. Only in Sunday's Buffalo News.
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