By John Vogl
The annual NHL Preview section came out on newsstands today, and tonight it's online. Here are the stories and links (though by all means grab an actual paper to see the design work by Vince Chiaramonte and Andrea Zagata):
*Ron Rolston has reached the pinnacle. He’s set to begin his first full season with the Buffalo Sabres, one of only 30 men lucky enough to be called an NHL head coach.
“Getting this opportunity to coach here has been a dream,” Rolston said. “Most people try to aspire to get to the very top of the profession, and this is the best in the world.”
*In the team preview, I examine how the Sabres hope newfound camaraderie will be enough to overcome their shortcomings.
*The 2013-14 season marks the start of new divisions, a new schedule matrix and a new playoff format for the NHL. For the Sabres, Mike Harrington writes, it means much more travel and a decidedly tougher road to end their postseason drought.
*Harrington explains that Steve Ott never shuts up as he tries to get opponents off their game, and he battles them with a competitive will he got from his parents.
*Gleason says weary fans are left with little hope, so they might as well appreciate Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek with their careers with the Sabres entering their final stages -- because who knows where the franchise is going.
*While Sabres fans have been warned by management they will likely endure some suffering this season, the Amerks may have the right balance of prospects and veteran depth to win a playoff series for the first time since 2005, as Miguel Rodriguez explains.
*New Sabres broadcaster Dan Dunleavy will spend three seasons working with and learning from an NHL announcing legend, Rick Jeanneret, before stepping behind the microphone full time, as Greg Connors writes.
*For the first time since 1997-98, every team will visit the other 29 cities as part of a home-and-away series. So fans can pack a bag and pick a city when the Sabres hit the road. Here’s my advice on what to see and eat before watching the Sabres put on their visiting uniforms.
*The Sabres have a new third jersey on the way, so Harrington takes a look back at the team’s uniform history.