Younger McLellan mum about father’s future
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.”