Mikhail Grigorenko will play tonight after sitting three straight games. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Grigorenko set to return; Leino skates, wants Sabres to have ‘higher demands’

BUFFALO – Sitting out hockey games, watching them in a suit from the press box high above the ice was a new and difficult experience for 18-year-old Sabres rookie Mikhail Grigorenko, a healthy scratch the past three games and four of the last six.

The Russian center will finally play again tonight when the Sabres host the New York Islanders, his first appearance under new interim coach Ron Rolston.

“I think every hockey player ... Read the full article

Lindy Ruff spoke to the media Friday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Ruff grateful to Sabres, plans to coach again

BUFFALO – Lindy Ruff tried watching the Sabres’ 3-1 loss Thursday in Toronto. He lasted one period. The team’s former coach found the experience “incredibly strange.”

“I turned it off,” Ruff said Friday inside the First Niagara Center, his first comments since the Sabres’ 6-10-1 start led to his dismissal Wednesday after 15 seasons as coach. “It was something I wanted to but I couldn’t.”

Ruff was emotional, thoughtful and even funny while speaking ... Read the full article

Ron Rolston ran his first full practice today. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Rolston: ‘We’re the team that blinks first’

AMHERST – Through his first two days as the Buffalo Sabres’ interim coach, Ron Rolston has been polite and quick to smile. It’s hard to imagine the 46-year-old ever raising his voice.

Still, Rolston, who coached the Sabres to a 3-1 loss Thursday in Toronto, assesses his team bluntly.

“We’re the team that blinks first when you have a stare down,” Rolston said this afternoon inside the Northtown Center following his first full practice ... Read the full article

Lindy Ruff's biggest regret was not winning a Stanley Cup for owner Terry Pegula. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Ruff grateful for long run as Sabres coach

BUFFALO – When Darcy Regier knocked on Lindy Ruff’s door Wednesday afternoon, the Sabres general manager didn’t have to say a word.

Ruff knew his 15 seasons as Sabres coach had ended.

“I saw him, I said, ‘I know,’” Ruff said this morning inside the First Niagara Center, his first comments since getting fired. “I said, ‘Don’t say you’re sorry.’ I said, ‘You’ve been my biggest backer all these years.’”

Ruff thanked a long list ... Read the full article

James van Riemsdyk fires in his second goal of the game past Tyler Myers and Ryan Miller on Thursday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Leafs spoil Rolston’s coaching debut, down Sabres

TORONTO – Well, maybe it wasn’t Lindy Ruff’s fault after all. Perhaps the Buffalo Sabres are simply a bad hockey club.

If they couldn’t cobble together a strong, 60-minute effort Thursday, a day after the Sabres axed the NHL’s longest-tenured coach, will they ever?

With the franchise reeling and Ron Rolston making his debut as interim coach, the Sabres played another terrible second period, allowing two goals, the difference in the 3-1 loss ... Read the full article

Ron Rolston coaches his first NHL game Thursday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Rolston thrilled to be NHL coach

TORONTO – Ron Rolston walked to a podium Thursday afternoon inside the Air Canada Centre, surveyed the landscape before him – about 30 reporters and a dozen cameras – and immediately cracked his first joke as the Buffalo Sabres’ interim coach.

“It looks like the same media coverage as Rochester,” joked Rolston, who replaced Lindy Ruff on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Rolston was preparing his Rochester Americans for an AHL tilt against the Texas Stars. ... Read the full article

Thomas Vanek said this afternoon he keeps "waiting for Lindy to come back." ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres players emotional over Ruff’s dismissal

TORONTO – A day later, Lindy Ruff’s dismissal as coach of the Buffalo Sabres after 15 seasons still hadn’t sunk in for some of his former players. For 13 current Sabres, Ruff was the only NHL coach they had even known before Ron Rolston took over on an interim basis Wednesday.

Ruff’s firing following the Sabres’ terrible 6-10-1 start stunned them. He had just led a 90-minute practice. But when Ruff boarded the team bus ... Read the full article

Kevin Porter preps for a faceoff earlier today. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres looking to Amerks captain Porter for help

TORONTO – When Cody McCormick cleared waivers at noon today, officially freeing up a roster spot, Kevin Porter hit the ice inside the Air Canada Centre.

His new Buffalo Sabres teammates tapped their sticks in appreciation before the center joined the workout.

The reeling Sabres, who will be led by new interim coach Ron Rolston for the first time tonight against the Maple Leafs, desperately need an on-ice savior.

Porter, a 14-goal scorer with Colorado ... Read the full article

Ron Rolston smiles this morning. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Rolston ready to lead Sabres

TORONTO – Ron Rolston walked to a podium this afternoon inside the Air Canada Centre, surveyed the landscape before him – about 30 reporters and a dozen cameras – and immediately cracked his first joke as the Buffalo Sabres’ interim coach.

“It looks like the same media coverage as Rochester,” joked Rolston, who replaced Lindy Ruff on Wednesday.

A day ago, Rolston was preparing his Rochester Americans for an AHL tilt against the Texas ... Read the full article

Lindy Ruff began coaching the Sabres in 1997. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ regression ultimately doomed Ruff

BUFFALO – Darcy Regier walked in looking shaken. The Sabres general manager broke down a couple times while discussing the difficult decision to fire his close friend Lindy Ruff, the NHL’s longest-tenured coach.

Regier and Ruff had been synonymous with each other since 1997, when a rookie GM gave a young coaching prospect his dream job. Together, they experienced all the highs and lows of the NHL, somehow managing to keep their gigs despite limited ... Read the full article