Best wishes to RJ

Archive:
Rolston

Chris Stewart zooms toward the net Friday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – If this keeps up, the battle to become the Sabres’ No. 1 goalie could be over soon.

Michal Neuvirth performed poorly in his first preseason action, making only 16 saves in the Sabres’ 6-4 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday inside the First Niagara Center.

The Leafs scored on four of their first seven shots and five of the first 12.

“A tough game, not a lot of shots,” Neuvirth said. “It seemed like every time they had a …

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Nikita Zadorov played seven NHL games last season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Ask Ted Nolan about playing teenagers in the NHL, and the Sabres coach will tell you very few possess the maturity to play there at such a young age.

Shortly after Nolan took over in November, the Sabres sent Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov, two defensemen drafted in the first round months earlier, away for more seasoning.

On Friday, Nolan was asked if the Sabres could potentially play the two 19-year-olds on the blue line this season.

“Rasmus is one of …

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Ron Rolston coached the Sabres briefly. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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Former Buffalo Sabres coach Ron Rolston has resurfaced as a pro scout in Arizona, where Darcy Regier serves as the Coyotes’ senior vice president and assistant general manager.

Regier was fired as Sabres GM with Rolston on Nov. 13. Regier hired Rolston to coach Buffalo in 2013.

Rolston hasn’t coached or been heard from much since leaving the Sabres. He turned up in Tampa Bay briefly last season, apparently to do some observing for Lightning coach Jon Cooper, his friend.

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Ted Nolan spent much of the summer finding a new coaching staff. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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HAMBURG – Following the most trying season in franchise history, Ted Nolan found some time to recharge this summer. Not a lot, however. The Sabres coach spent much of the offseason preparing for the upcoming campaign and honoring commitments around Buffalo.

“A summer of getting out with the old and beginning with the new,” a smiling Nolan said Tuesday at the Wanahak Country Club prior to the team’s annual golf tournament.

Two days before training camp opens, the new beginning was visible …

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Nikita Zadorov was sent back to junior early last season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – After a seven-game NHL trial as a rookie early last season, Sabres prospect Nikita Zadorov feels ready for primetime. The 19-year-old defenseman believes an impressive training camp could force the Sabres to keep him.

“I’m a year older, a year stronger – everything,” Zadorov said earlier this week. “I have experience.”

Zadorov will be at least a few games richer in experience by next week, after the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Mich. The Sabres open at 4 p.m. …

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Ted Nolan still must hire more assistant coaches. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres have hired Hall of Famer Bryan Trottier, one of the most decorated names in hockey history, as an assistant coach for Ted Nolan’s staff, according to the Buffalo News.

Nolan knows Trottier, who won six Stanley Cups as player, from his tenure as New York Islanders coach from 2006-08, when Trottier was the director of player development.

Trottier enjoyed an illustrious playing career, compiling 524 goals and 1,425 points in 1,279 games over 18 seasons. He won four …

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J.T. Compher has played one college season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – Early during Sabres development camp, J.T. Compher, proud University of Michigan student-athlete, noticed Hudson Fasching, his roommate from the University of Minnesota, brought a Big Ten shirt.

“I threw it on the ground,” a smiling Compher said. “I didn’t want to see that out of his suitcase again.”

Their rivalry started last season, when Compher’s Wolverines lost three of their four conference meetings to Fasching’s Golden Gophers, who captured the first-ever Big Ten hockey title.

Before that, the friends played together …

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Joe Sacco lasted one season with the Sabres. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – So much for Joe Sacco scouting for the Sabres. The Boston Bruins have hired the 45-year-old as an assistant coach, a job he had here last season.

The Sabres fired Sacco after finishing 30th overall last season, but quickly named him a pro scout. Sacco was inside the First Niagara Center last week during development camp.

Sacco coached the Colorado Avalanche from 2009-13, earning a Jack Adams Award nomination in 2009-10. Former Sabres coach Ron Rolston hired Sacco last year.

When …

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The Sabres waived Ville Leino on Tuesday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – As expected, the Sabres placed Ville Leino on unconditional waivers Tuesday and will be using a compliance buyout on the final three seasons of the Finn’s six-year, $27 million deal, ridding themselves of perhaps the worst contract in NHL history.

Yes, the worst ever.

When he wasn’t battling a series of injuries, the 30-year-old forward produced only 10 goals and 46 points in 137 games with the Sabres, including zero goals in 58 appearances during a wretched 2013-14 campaign.

The Sabres …

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Ville Leino found the Sabres took themselves too seriously when he first arrived. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – With Ville Leino’s Sabres career over, here’s a timeline of the enigmatic forward’s short three-year run. Expectations started high and, well, quickly dwindled.

Leino, as you’ll see, was never afraid to speak his mind.

July 1, 2011, the day the Sabres signed Leino to his infamous six-year, $27 million contract and switched him from wing to center:

“I talked to him about all three positions, and he’s comfortable at all three,” former Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “But his position that …

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