Enjoy the Summer

Archive:
Rolston

Jay McKee was recently promoted. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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The tweets are gone now, most likely casualties of Jay McKee’s budding new career.

In between gigs a few years ago, before McKee, 38, quickly ascended up the junior coaching ladder, the popular former Buffalo Sabres defenseman often eschewed the mundane words and pictures many ex-athletes tweet and utilized Twitter to showcase his lively personality.

It was all, of course, harmless fun for McKee, who on May 12 was named coach of the Kitchener Rangers. Still, tweets like the ones that poked …

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Tyler Ennis has three goals and seven points this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – When Dan Bylsma and Tyler Ennis discuss the speedy Sabres winger’s play, the coach rarely has to give the young veteran his opinion.

That’s because Ennis, who can often be critical of his own game, usually beats Bylsma to the punch.

“He tells me the same thing he’s told you,” Bylsma said Monday following practice inside the First Niagara Center. “I know (he’s) probably been a little hard on himself a handful of times.”

On the surface, Ennis, 26, has enjoyed …

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Dave Barr played 614 NHL games before his coaching career. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Dan Bylsma let it slip. Instead of waiting for the press release to come out, the new Sabres coach announced the first two assistants to his staff – veteran NHL coach Terry Murray and Dave Barr – during a news conference Thursday.

“We didn’t save the release for this afternoon,” Bylsma joked inside the First Niagara Center.

Former Sabres coaches Ted Nolan and Ron Rolston had trouble finding assistants the last two years and filled out their staffs in August. …

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Chadd Cassidy joined the Sabres organization in 2011. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – The Sabres fired Rochester Americans coach Chadd Cassidy today, ending his four-year run with the organization, the last two of which he spent leading the AHL club.

Since Cassidy was a holdover from the Darcy Regier regime, it was expected Sabres general manager Tim Murray would let the 41-year-old go. Cassidy’s contract expires this summer. Murray has been bringing in his own men. He fired Ted Nolan as Sabres coach earlier this month.

“I’d like to thank Chadd for all …

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Tim Murray speaks Sunday after firing Ted Nolan. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – For the first time since the Sabres replaced Ted Nolan following his initial run almost 18 years ago, the team must search for a new coach.

Yes, it has really been that long.

Lindy Ruff, Nolan’s replacement in 1997, lasted until 2013, when former Sabres general manager Darcy Regier quickly promoted Ron Rolston from Rochester as interim coach. Regier removed the interim tag following the season without interviewing anyone.

Nolan immediately took over as interim coach when owner Terry Pegula fired …

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Chris Stewart zooms toward the net Friday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By 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
By 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
By 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
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

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
By 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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