Younger McLel­lan mum about fa­ther’s fu­ture

The Buffalo News - - NHL - By Mike Har­ring­ton

Todd McLel­lan was plan­ning to be in Buf­falo this week any­way. But what was slated to be a trip to watch his son, Tyson, play in the NCAA Frozen Four for Den­ver Univer­sity has ap­par­ently be­come a busi­ness trip for Dad as well.

Mul­ti­ple sources say Todd McLel­lan, the former coach of the San Jose Sharks and Ed­mon­ton Oil­ers, is meet­ing with Sabres Gen­eral Man­ager Ja­son Bot­ter­ill about the team’s head coach­ing po­si­tion while he’s in town to watch his son’s na­tional semi­fi­nal against Mas­sachusetts. Re­ports have said McLel­lan also is mulling an of­fer to coach the Los An­ge­les Kings.

Tyson McLel­lan, a ju­nior for­ward who is an al­ter­nate cap­tain for Den­ver, was on the NCAA dais meet­ing the me­dia late Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon and was asked The Ques­tion: “Has your dad said any­thing about any job in­ter­view here this week?”

Tyson McLel­lan quickly brushed off the in­quiry by say­ing, “No. This is Den­ver hockey this week­end. That’s on the back burner.”

In­ter­view room mod­er­a­tor Dave Fis­cher, the long­time USA Hockey se­nior di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions, im­me­di­ately cracked up the room upon hear­ing that an­swer when he said, “Took six ques­tions to get there.”

Tyson McLel­lan has three goals and nine as­sists with a plus-9 rat­ing

in 39 games this sea­son for Den­ver. He grew up in San Jose while his fa­ther was the coach of the Sharks.

“It’s been a big in­flu­ence,” Tyson McLel­lan said. “I’ve al­ways been around the rink, al­ways seen play­ers like Pavel Dat­syuk, Joe Thorn­ton, kind of seen what they do, try­ing to im­ple­ment some of that stuff into my game. It’s been re­ally help­ful in my game.”

Den­ver coach David Carle said Tyson McLel­lan is a clas­sic coach’s son on the ice.

“He knows his game re­ally well,” Carle said. “I think he eval­u­ates a team game pretty well. As he’s said, he has grown up around it. His dad hasn’t shut him out of any­thing. He’s grown up in NHL rinks.

“You can tell whether you’re talk­ing to him about his game, our team game, an NHL player, NHL team, he’s in the know. He’s a re­ally in­tel­li­gent, bright hockey mind.”

Carvel looks back

KeyBank Cen­ter is a fa­mil­iar place to UMass coach Greg Carvel and he was in the build­ing for some of the fiercest games the build­ing has ever seen.

Carvel, in his third sea­son at UMass, was an as­sis­tant un­der Bryan Mur­ray with the Ot­tawa Sen­a­tors’ dur­ing the height of the SabresSe­na­tors ri­valry from 2005-2007.

Speak­ing here Wed­nes­day on the eve of his team’s Frozen Four semi­fi­nal against Den­ver, Carvel vivdly re­called the back-to-back play­off se­ries be­tween Buf­falo and Ot­tawa in 2006 and 2007 -- as well as the teams’ in­fa­mous line brawl here on Feb. 22, 2007.

That fra­cas is most re­mem­bered for a goalie fight be­tween Ray Emery and Martin Biron, which was fol­lowed by Sabres tough guy Andrew Peters en­gag­ing Emery.

“My fond­est NHL mem­ory took place in this build­ing. Well, my fond­est and also one of the strangest,” Carvel said. “I was on the staff here when Ray Emery fought Andrew Peters. If any of you saw that, that was the cra­zi­est game I was ever in­volved with. When your start­ing goalie is fight­ing the heavy­weight from the other team on cen­ter ice, it’s an event you don’t for­get.”

Carvel was an as­sis­tant in Ana­heim in 2003 as the Ducks ad­vanced to Game 7 of the Stan­ley Cup fi­nal be­fore los­ing at New Jersey. The 2007 Sen­a­tors lost to the Ducks in the Cup fi­nal af­ter beat­ing Buf­falo in the Eastern Con­fer­ence fi­nal.

“I was coach­ing un­der Bryan Mur­ray. Daniel Al­freds­son scored here in over­time to send us to the Stan­ley Cup fi­nal,” Carvel said of the Ot­tawa cap­tain’s Game 5 goal that won the se­ries. “I worked for Bryan 10 years, he passed away two years ago. Bryan is one of my great­est men­tors, ba­si­cally a se­cond fa­ther to me. I was very for­tu­nate to work with him.

“I re­mem­ber cel­e­brat­ing on the bench with him af­ter we scored that goal . ... That goal, that game, this build­ing was my high­light dur­ing my time in the NHL.”

Rol­ston back in Buf­falo

Former Sabres coach Ron Rol­ston is in his se­cond sea­son at Prov­i­dence and his first as as­so­ciate head coach. The Fri­ars play de­fend­ing cham­pion Min­nesota-Du­luth in Thurs­day’s 5 p.m. opener.

Rol­ston was pro­moted from Rochester to Sabres in­terim coach when Lindy Ruff was fired on Feb. 20, 2013 and given the job on a per­ma­nent ba­sis in May.

But he was fired on Nov. 13, 2013 and re­placed by Ted Nolan af­ter the Sabres opened the sea­son 4-15-1. Rol­ston’s over­all record over his parts of two sea­sons was 19-26-6.

Since leav­ing Buf­falo, Rol­ston has served as an AHL head coach for Ari­zona’s af­fil­i­ate in Spring­field, Mass., and was an as­sis­tant for Team USA in the 2018 Win­ter Olympics in South Korea.

Through a school spokesman, Rol­ston de­clined an in­ter­view re­quest Wed­nes­day from The Buf­falo News.

Prov­i­dence de­fense­man Jacob Bryson, the Sabres’ fourth-round draft pick in 2017, said he’s never spo­ken to Rol­ston about his Buf­falo days.

“He’s an awe­some coach, but I’ve never ac­tu­ally talked about it with him,” Bryson said. “He does such a good job. He runs the spe­cial teams ba­si­cally and he’s a fan­tas­tic coach.”

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