Ron Rolston is known for his strong teaching skills. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Mentors not surprised Sabres’ Ron Rolston evolved into NHL coach

BUFFALO – Twenty-seven years ago, shortly after the junior St. Claire Shores Falcons had lost the national championship in triple overtime in Sioux City, Iowa, Jeff Jackson made a promise to Ron Rolston, his 19-year-old captain.

The coach was moving up from the North American Hockey League to take an assistant gig with Lake Superior State. Meanwhile, Rolston was about to start a three-year NCAA career at Michigan Tech.

“I remember telling him, ‘Someday I’m ... Read the full article

Brian Flynn played collegiately at Maine. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres recall Flynn from Amerks

BUFFALO – The Sabres recalled rookie Brian Flynn from Rochester early tonight, a curious move with 12 forwards believed to be healthy.

Sabres winger Thomas Vanek sat out practice today, although interim coach Ron Rolston said the team’s leading scorer was enjoying a maintenance day.

The 24-year-old Flynn, a college free agent from Maine, has been arguably the Americans’ biggest surprise this season, scoring a team-high 16 goals and 32 points in 45 games.

Flynn, ... Read the full article

Vill Leino hasn’t played yet this season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Leino finally nearing return; Enroth could start soon

AMHERST – Long before his teammates began practicing this afternoon, winger Ville Leino was skating inside the Northtown Center, testing his injured hip.

When the rest of the Buffalo Sabres finally hit the ice, the Finn stayed on, participating in his first full team full practice since Jan. 18.

Leino, who hasn’t played a game since April 7, believes he could return as soon as next week.

“The rehab’s been good lately, and I’ve been ... Read the full article

Nathan Gerbe has had a tough time scoring the past two seasons. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Why can’t Sabres’ Gerbe score regularly?

In about 10 minutes during the first period Thursday, diminutive Buffalo Sabres winger Nathan Gerbe scored as many goals as he had in the previous 38 games, a stretch dating back to Feb. 11, 2012.

First, Gerbe opened the scoring 6:30 into the tilt, utilizing an “NHL 94 move” to perfection by stopping in the right circle and cutting sharply before roofing a shot by Florida Panthers goalie Scott Clemmensen.

Fresh off his first ... Read the full article

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