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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" »

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."

Postgame audio: A disconcerting end to playoff hopes

By Mike Harrington

OK, so if you saw Ron Rolston's postgame presser on MSG, you'll understand the headline above. Sorry, couldn't resist.

The Sabres' interim coach showed plenty of fire with me following Friday night's 8-4 loss to the Rangers that ended Buffalo's slim playoff hopes. Fair enough. Would have been nice if his team had a little more on many nights since he's taken over, but I digress.

It was certainly an interesting postgame session with Rolston's anger and Ryan Miller's emotional but calculated words. Miller and Sabres fans seem to be a relationship headed for divorce with just about no repair possible.

What an ugly night. Click the files below to hear some of the post-mortems.

Ron Rolston

Ryan Miller

Thomas Vanek

Adam Pardy

Postgame audio: A disconcerting end to playoff hopes

By Mike Harrington

OK, so if you saw Ron Rolston's postgame presser on MSG, you'll understand the headline above. Sorry, couldn't resist.

The Sabres' interim coach showed plenty of fire with me following Friday night's 8-4 loss to the Rangers that ended Buffalo's slim playoff hopes. Fair enough. Would have been nice if his team had a little more on many nights since he's taken over, but I digress.

It was certainly an interesting postgame session with Rolston's anger and Ryan Miller's emotional but calculated words. Miller and Sabres fans seem to be a relationship headed for divorce with just about no repair possible.

What an ugly night. Click the files below to hear some of the post-mortems.

Ron Rolston

Ryan Miller

Thomas Vanek

Adam Pardy

Fourth straight win a virtual must for playoff hopes

By Mike Harrington

The Sabres are on their fourth three-game winning streak of the season -- all of which have come under interim coach Ron Rolston. They've yet to get win No. 4 for any of those streaks, and they need to do it tonight to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

The New York Rangers are in town, with the Sabres desperately needing a regulation win because they're four points behind the Rangers in the race for eighth place in the East and the Blueshirts have a game in hand.

The Sabres' hope will be left dangling by a thread if they get one point; officially in but with basically no hope. They will be officially out of the playoffs for the fourth time in six years if they lose in regulation tonight. They got zero help last night out of town, so their only hope basically comes down to the Sabres running the table in their last four games to finish at 52 points and holding on to the slim hope that will be enough.

"It starts with us winning," said winger Drew Stafford. "If we're not winning games, it doesn't matter what other teams are going to do. They'll help us maybe, but it starts with us getting the two points and making sure we're doing our job."

Continue reading "Fourth straight win a virtual must for playoff hopes" »

Team still in awe after emotional night in Beantown

Silence
The Boston Marathon memorial ribbon is on the scoreboard and the ice during a moment of silence Wednesday in TD Garden. (Getty Images)


By Mike Harrington

The Sabres got a huge win last night in Boston and are still alive in the playoff race with the New York Rangers coming to town Friday (after hosting the Florida Panthers tonight in Madison Square Garden).

The team had a brief, 20-minute workout today in Amherst and will fully turn to the Rangers in video sessions and their pregame skate Friday morning. But it was basically impossible today to not reflect on last night's emotional shootout win over the Bruins, an event that is the talk of the nation and far transcends sports in the wake of the bombings at the Boston Marathon.

"It was probably the most emotional game I've ever been a part of for so many reasons," said Steve Ott. "The way the Boston fans and community with what they've been going through, it's obviously been a horrific 2-3 days now. For them to come out there and cheer and put some smiles on their faces for a couple hours is the least we could do to try to battle for the fans and show the pride of both teams."

"I had chills just looking around," Lynnfield, Mass., native Brian Flynn said of the fans-led national anthem. "I don't think there was one person in the stands that wasn't singing."

Added interim coach Ron Rolston: "It was an amazing night. It was a great tribute for the people of Boston. I know for our guys and certainly the staff, it was really a great event to be part of."

Click below to hear audio from Ott, Flynn and Rolston. Plenty of talk about the Boston game and some about the keys to the Sabres somehow staying alive in the playoff race in the face of all their deals at the trade deadline and their injuries.

Steve Ott

Brian Flynn

Ron Rolston

Enroth giving Sabres good dilemma in goal

By Mike Harrington

The Sabres are off today and will return to practice Tuesday morning before heading to Boston for Wednesday night's game against the Bruins. 

Interim coach Ron Rolston has a very interesting decision on his hands when it comes to his goaltending. Jhonas Enroth pitched a shutout Saturday against the Flyers and came back Sunday to backstop the 3-1 win over Tampa Bay.

Enroth is red-hot right now -- 4-0-1 in his last five starts with a 1.37 goals-against average and .958 save percentage. The Sabres basically have to win their last five games to have any shot of the playoffs, so how do you take him out now?

Continue reading "Enroth giving Sabres good dilemma in goal" »

Sabres try to write 'same story' by runnin' past struggling Devils

By Mike Harrington

A mostly quiet morning in First Niagara Center in advance of tonight's Sabres-Devils game (Reminder: It's been moved to 7:30 and will be televised on NBC Sports Network). The Sabres skated for about 30 minutes while only a few Devils stopped by since they played last night against Toronto in the Prudential Center.

Ryan Miller will be in goal tonight against Martin Brodeur. Thomas Vanek is out again and did not take the morning skate but interim coach Ron Rolston said that was a scheduled day off and Vanek will return to practice Monday.

This will be the sixth straight game Vanek has missed with what the team is calling an upper-body muscle strain. Rolston said he continues to target Tuesday's game in Winnipeg as Vanek's return date. We'll see.

The Sabres have won two straight and are 5-2-2 in their last nine games but start the day 12th in the Eastern Conference with 36 points, sixth back of the eighth-place Islanders but with a game in hand. According to Sportsclubstats.com's calculations, they need to earn 16 of the 20 points they have left on the table to just have a roughly 50-50 shot at the postseason.

Continue reading "Sabres try to write 'same story' by runnin' past struggling Devils" »

Audio: Hodgson, Rolston discuss center's demotion to Sabres' fourth line

By John Vogl

Cody Hodgson has been at the front of the Sabres' centers all season -- until tonight's 2-0 loss to Boston. Coach Ron Rolston sent him to the fourth line between wingers Patrick Kaleta and John Scott.

Hear both discuss the move by clicking the audio files below.

Cody Hodgson

Ron Rolston

Brennan to skate for Panthers against Sabres' 'Blitzkrieg'

By Mike Harrington

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Sabres have a long bus ride back to Fort Lauderdale so they had a quick pregame skate and exited BB&T Center without giving too many clues to tonight's lineup.

"We're confusing people right now," said a smirking interim coach Ron Rolston. "We came in, it was Blitzkrieg. We came in, quick pregame, so you have to wait for the lineup there."

Continue reading "Brennan to skate for Panthers against Sabres' 'Blitzkrieg'" »

Stafford will return Thursday, Vanek a question mark

By Mike Harrington

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Sabres worked out for about an hour this afternoon in the BB&T Center, home of the Florida Panthers. All of them, that is, except for Thomas Vanek. Interim coach Ron Rolston said Vanek has an upper-body muscle strain but wouldn't automatically rule him out for Thursday's game against the Panthers.

Vanek, however, was seen walking around the locker room area rather gingerly and not looking like a guy who might be on the ice in an NHL game in about 30 hours.

Drew Stafford skated in Vanek's spot with Tyler Ennis and Ville Leino and Rolston said Stafford, a healthy scratch the last two games, is playing tomorrow night whether or not Vanek can go.

"We just want him to go out there and make things happen for our team and lead the way for us," Rolston said. "He's in that position [an assistant captain] because he earned it and that's what he's got to do. Lately, it's been a reminder about the things he's got to get back to more than anything. All of our guys just can't take for granted they're going to be in the lineup. We need them to play a certain way."

Rolston wants Stafford to shoot. He wants anybody to shoot. The Sabres had 14 shots on goal Tuesday, with their forwards combining for only 10. 

"It's real basic. Same on the power play," Rolston said. "We have a tendency to be too cute, try to make one extra pass. You don't score many goals that way. We just have to get pucks to the net."

With less than a week left until the trade deadline, Stafford said he's simply trying to improve his game and is not focused on going somewhere else.

"That's not something I was thinking about. I need to ignore the noise, focus on getting better and improving myself," Stafford said. "Being out of the lineup, my No. 1 priority is focusing on coming back, playing strong and playing hard and helping this team win games. That's all about where my head is at."

 

Sabres getting used being in - and winning - one-goal games

By John Vogl

When the Sabres dropped Montreal, 3-2, Saturday night, it continued a trend of being in -- and winning -- one-goal games.

Eleven of Buffalo's last 13 games have been decided by one goal. The Sabres are 6-2-3 in the close contests.

"It’s so tight across the whole league that you pretty much expect to play a one-goal game every night," right wing Brian Flynn said.

Continue reading "Sabres getting used being in - and winning - one-goal games" »

Morning skate updates: Thomas Vanek out, Ryan Miller back in

By Jay Skurski

Leading scorer Thomas Vanek will not play tonight when the Buffalo Sabres host the Toronto Maple Leafs in First Niagara Center, interim coach Ron Rolston said this morning.

Vanek was hit by a Christian Ehrhoff shot Tuesday night in the second period of the Sabres' game in Montreal.

"He's better today," Rolston said. "He feels, actually, good. We're starting the process, so we're hoping to get him on the ice tomorrow."

It looks like Vanek will be joined in the press box by forward Nathan Gerbe, who's expected to be a healthy scratch for the second straight game.

"I think he's working hard, but we have to make some tough decisions right now in our lineup," Rolston said of Gerbe. "I can only have 12 forwards in there and [he] was a player that I think didn't give us a reason to keep him in right now. And that's what he has to work for."

Burly forward John Scott is expected to be back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the past three games.

Ryan Miller will start in goal for Buffalo.

After extra game out, Kaleta is back

By Mike Harrington

MONTREAL -- The Sabres have hugged it out and Patrick Kaleta is back in the lineup tonight at the Bell Centre.

That was the mood of the dressing room after today's pregame skate. Kaleta, suspended for five games and held out Sunday for another, was greeted by a swarm of Montreal media in the wake of Sunday's kerfluffle in Washington and said he had no issue with what Ryan Miller said after the game.

(The Sabres did not make Miller available to the media today even though Jhonas Enroth is starting; Miller, like many goalies, does not speak prior to games in which he is playing).

"He's like my brother, one of my best friends on the team," Kaleta said of Miller, his former road roommate. "Some things were misunderstood there but we're family. Our season hasn't gone the way we wanted it to go and everyone knows that. Our job is to come together as a team and go out there and battle."

Continue reading "After extra game out, Kaleta is back" »

Rolston breaks up top line, Enroth to start tonight vs. Montreal

By Mike Harrington

MONTREAL -- Quick notes from the end of the Sabres' morning skate:

---Interim coach Ron Rolston said after Sunday's game he might break up the top line and he made good on the thought today. Thomas Vanek has been dropped to the second trio and replaced by Steve Ott. Patrick Kaleta is also back in after missing six games, five on his suspension and Sunday's as a healthy scratch.

The lines were Ott-Hodgson-Pominville, Vanek-Ennis-Leino, Foligno-Porter-Flynn, Hecht-Stafford-Kaleta. The scratches are Gerbe and Scott.

---Jhonas Enroth will be in goal in place of Ryan Miller. He's 2-0 in three games against the Habs in his career with a 2.42 goals-against average and .917 save percentage.

More to come, with audio.

Kaleta furious to be a scratch upon return from suspension

By Mike Harrington

WASHINGTON -- Interim coach Ron Rolston didn't do any line work today during a brief pregame skate in the Verizon Center so there was no way to tell which two of the Sabres' forwards were getting scratched tonight against the Capitals. Patrick Kaleta, now eligible after serving a five-game suspension, was doing late work with John Scott but the media assumed that was simply extra skating in the wake of his absence.

Wrong. Rolston stunned reporters by announcing Kaleta is a scratch.

He apparently stunned Kaleta too when the Angola native got to the rink this morning.

Multiple observers said Kaleta was screaming his disgust on the ice during the work while reporters were in the locker room and having their pregame briefing from Rolston. And when the media got to Kaleta, he didn't hold back about the state of a team that's 13th in the East and going nowhere.

Continue reading "Kaleta furious to be a scratch upon return from suspension" »

Rolston on Grigorenko: 'The best thing for him would be to go play in the playoffs'

By Mike Harrington

During his pregame briefing with reporters today prior to the 3 p.m. faceoff against Ottawa, Sabres interim coach Ron Rolston made it pretty clear that the team's place near the bottom of the Eastern Conference was a key reason that T.J. Brennan was traded yesterday to Florida and Mikhail Grigorenko was shipped back to the Quebec Remparts. You want a firesale? The Sabres still seem to be shooting for eighth place.

"With where we were at as a team, it was difficult to give him an opportunity that he probably needed developmentally," Rolston said when asked about Grigorenko. "For our organization right now, the best thing for him would be to go play in the [Quebec League] playoffs get playoff experience, really be a really big part of that team and be in every situation."

Brennan couldn't find any ice time either and was dealt to Florida, where he will be reunited with Kevin Dineen, his former coach in Portland.

Continue reading "Rolston on Grigorenko: 'The best thing for him would be to go play in the playoffs'" »

Miller out with sinus infection; Enroth to start against Rangers

By Mike Harrington

The Sabres had plenty of roster moves to make in advance of tonight's game against the New York Rangers but interim coach Ron Rolston surprised the media during his morning briefing with another one: Jhonas Enroth will start in goal for the Sabres tonight because Ryan Miller has a sinus infection.

Miller will serve as backup and he's expected to be fine for the weekend; the Sabres are off until Ottawa is here Saturday. Enroth, of course, came within 6 1/2 minutes of a shutout Thursday in New Jersey before leaving with coffee-induced cramps.

"We sealed the coffee lids," Rolston joked.

What's no joke is the coach wants to see the backup -- who remains winless since Nov. 26, 2011 -- try to put together a second straight solid game.

Continue reading "Miller out with sinus infection; Enroth to start against Rangers" »

Video: The similarities between Rolston and Regier


Watch all the segments from the most recent Bucky & Sully Show here.

Rolston Report (w/audio): Sekera, Leino likely out Sunday

By Mike Harrington

With Rihanna in First Niagara Center and a massive youth tournament in the Northtown Center, the Sabres had to practice at Cazenovia Rink in South Buffalo this afternoon. (My first time ever in the place in six years on this beat. Not bad. Nice little heaters above the viewing section).  It was a short, quick workout with interim coach Ron Rolston keeping a sharp tempo in the wake of last night's flameout in New Jersey.

And Rolston put on a happy face with reporters after the workout too. He's 3-3-2 since taking over for Lindy Ruff -- and 3-1-2 since dropping his first two games against Toronto and the New York Islanders when he was largely in watch-only mode.

"The last six games we have eight points and we potentially should have had 10 points out of 12," Rolston said, referring to the blown points Sunday in New York and last night in Jersey. "There's certainly things that we want to have back like last night's game but there's also a lot of things that going positive. We're building some good roots in the ground right now for our team to grow and we just have to stay with it."

The suspended Patrick Kaleta and long-term injured Alex Sulzer were not on the ice today as expected. The only missing player was defenseman Andrej Sekera, who Rolston has pretty much ruled out for Sunday's game in Philadelphia after getting hurt in the third period Thursday. Rolston also said no to Ville Leino, who was hoping to make his season debut against his former team.

"We're just trying to get him back into practice and get him quality practice time," Rolston said. "Really grinding, get him in more competitive situations. It will be close. I don't know when. I would doubt Sunday but certainly next week a strong possibility."

Leino didn't know he had been ruled out until John Wawrow of the AP and I talked to him. He said "it really doesn't matter" who he heard it from but, from experience, I can tell you it matters.

"I think I'm at a point in the practice where I can't really push much harder," Leino said. "The next step will be the games. It's been a while. It would be nice to get back in there. [Philly] is always a special spot for me to play against. It would have been fun."

Rolston also responded to Jhonas Enroth's contention that he drank too much coffee during the day and that's why he cramped late in Thursday's game -- and why he may have been unable to get across the crease to stop Patrik Elias' tying goal with 66 seconds left.

"It's part of his growth," Rolston said. "I don't know what the final outcome was on it. Part of his growth as an athlete is making sure he's taking care of himself in that one. I know our staff has been over it and it's just something he has to take care of in the future."

Click below to hear Rolston's session with reporters today.

Ron Rolston

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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 | [email protected]

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 | [email protected]


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 | [email protected]

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