Sabres replace Ruff with Rolston, Regier says Jets loss a ‘tipping point’


Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier met with reporters on Wednesday in the wake of Lindy Ruff’s firing to announce that Ron Rolston will become the 16th head coach in franchise history.

Regier said Rolston — formerly the coach of Buffalo’s AHL affiliate in Rochester — was hired on an interim basis, but will finish out the year behind the Sabres’ bench.

Rolson, 46, coached at both the collegiate and US National Team Development Program levels prior to taking the Rochester gig in 2011.

He is the older brother of longtime NHLer Brian Rolston.

After announcing his new coach, Regier spent a large portion of the press conference discussing Ruff and the events that led to his dismissal.

According to Regier, one major event was Tuesday’s 2-1 home loss to the Winnipeg Jets.

“The prevailing factor here was where we are, where we’re going, conversations I had with Lindy, where he felt the team was,” Regier explained. “Last game, quite honestly, was a tipping point.

“[It was] quite evident to me we were searching for answers to too many questions.”

Other notes and remarks made by Regier:

— He said there were “a lot of unknowns” with the team and mentioned the struggles of Marcus Foligno, Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford, a trio he cited as being far less productive than a year ago.

— Kevin Porter will be recalled from Rochester to replace Cody McCormick, who was placed on waivers Wednesday morning.

Porter has 44 points in 48 games for the Amerks this season and 163 games of NHL experience, most of it coming with the Colorado Avalanche.

— Regier was adamant that Ruff didn’t “lose the room” and that relieving Ruff of his duties was “very difficult, extremely difficult.”

— He also added he wasn’t worried about his job security.

“No, not right now I don’t,” Regier explained. “This is not my day, this is not about me.”

Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp

Mathew Barzal
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It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.

Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.

Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.

The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension

Torres hit

What will Raffi Torres get this time?

The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.

It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.

Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.

You can see the hit below:

And here it is slowed down:

Torres got a match penalty and Silfverberg left the game. Fortunately, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have returned, but was kept out for precautionary reasons.