Marcus Foligno has one goal this season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Foligno lucky he wasn’t scratched earlier

If the Buffalo Sabres had some better options, Marcus Foligno could’ve been benched weeks ago.

Instead, the 21-year-old power forward, a healthy scratch tonight against the Florida Panthers, kept struggling right beside the rest of the Sabres’ anemic offense.

It’s often cliché to talk about the “sophomore jinx,” but Foligno’s certainly experiencing an epic slump during his first full NHL season.

Twenty contests into the 48-game campaign, Foligno has just one goal and eight points. ... Read the full article

Ron Rolston spent time developing his coaching skills in the NCAA. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Rolston mentor on Sabres’ new coach: ‘I can assure you that he’s top shelf’

BUFFALO – Back in 1996, Mark Morris wanted to add Ron Rolston to his Clarkson staff badly. The Sabres’ interim coach had just won two national championships as an assistant with Lake Superior State. Morris thought Rolston’s expertise could help his program could get over the hump.

So he hired a 29-year-old Rolston and another Lake Superior assistant, Jim Roque.

“I think the attraction for me was they were working with Jeff Jackson at the ... Read the full article

Ron Rolston won his first NHL game Tuesday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Rolston’s first Sabres win creates some optimism

Buffalo Sabres fans are understandably a pessimistic bunch these days. No one can blame them, either. Coach Lindy Ruff was just fired. Their $65 million team is parked in 15th place, a wretched 7-12-1 this season.

So here’s some good news.

Tuesday’s big 2-1 win in Tampa Bay over the Lightning, Ron Rolston’s first as the Sabres’ interim coach, moved the club to within four points of a playoff spot. They stymied the ... Read the full article

Cory Conacher played for the Syracuse Crunch earlier this season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Rolston impressed by Canisius product Conacher

BUFFALO – Count interim Sabres coach Ron Rolston among those impressed by slick Tampa Bay Lightning rookie Cory Conacher, a Canisius College product.

Rolston watched the 5-foot-8 forward play for the Syracuse Crunch several times earlier this season while coaching the Rochester Americans. Conacher, in Rolston’s mind, showcases a style similar to diminutive Lightning star Martin St. Louis, one of the most prolific scorers in recent history.

“He’s very dynamic, much like St. Louis,” ... Read the full article

Ron Rolston took over for Lindy Ruff on Wednesday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Rolston: ‘It’s going to be a process’ improving

BUFFALO – Rebuilding the bottom-feeding, 15th-place Sabres back into a strong hockey club could be a long and arduous process following Lindy Ruff’s dismissal as coach last week.

The team’s in shambles, having lost four straight games and six of the last seven. There’s little to like about the Sabres and no quick fix.

They possess no identity.

“I know patience isn’t big with anybody,” interim coach Ron Rolston said Monday inside ... Read the full article

Adam Pardy played for the Sabres on Feb. 5. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres summon Pardy from Rochester with Sulzer sidelined

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ injury and on-ice woes could help defenseman Adam Pardy, an NHL regular before numbers kicked him back to the minors this season, carve out a spot on the blue line.

With Jordan Leopold (hand) and Alexander Sulzer (lower body) sidelined, the Sabres on Monday summoned Pardy from Rochester for the second time this season.

He should play tonight in Tampa Bay against the Lightning, the start of a two-game Florida ... Read the full article

An undisclosed injury will shelve Alexander Sulzer (52) Tuesday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Rolston: ‘We’re still hoping’ to win

BUFFALO – Right now, the belief among the reeling, 15th-place Sabres is low. With very few positives to build on during their four-game losing streak, the Sabres are simply hoping to win games, interim coach Ron Rolston said this morning.

“There’s two things,” Rolston said following practice inside the First Niagara Center. “You go into hockey games and some teams hope they’re going to win, and some teams know they’re going to win ... Read the full article

Thomas Vanek is sitting out practice this morning. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Vanek missing from practice; Sabres recall Pardy with Sulzer sidelined

BUFFALO – Leading scorer Thomas Vanek and defenseman Alexander Sulzer, who left Saturday’s 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders, are missing from Sabres practice this morning inside the First Niagara Center.

With Sulzer (lower body) and defenseman Jordan Leopold (hand) sidelined, the Sabres have recalled Adam Pardy from Rochester. He’s practicing.

Stay tuned for updates. Vanek’s known for getting beat up and resting occasionally. Tough guy John Scott is practicing in Vanek’s place ... Read the full article

Lindy Ruff (left) spoke with Jason Pominville often. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Ruff will have plenty of options at his disposal

BUFFALO – Give it a week or so, even just a few days. Plenty of NHL teams are struggling right now. Coaches will get axed. You can bet Lindy Ruff’s name will be connected to most vacancies.

Ruff, fired by the Sabres on Wednesday after 15 seasons, wants to coach again, saying Friday, “I got to keep going. I love the game.”

The 53-year-old will get offers soon. Of course, he might want to ... Read the full article

Ryan Miller was angry following the Sabres' fourth straight loss. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres blink first again versus Isles, drop to last in Eastern Conference

BUFFALO – Nothing has changed. The Sabres are still a mess, perhaps the NHL’s worst team. Since firing Lindy Ruff on Wednesday and naming Ron Rolston interim coach, they’ve lost both games and scored one goal.

The disenchanted crowd inside the First Niagara Center booed and moaned Saturday throughout an ugly 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders, just like they did during Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat to Winnipeg, Ruff’s final game as coach.... Read the full article