James Patrick has been in Buffalo since 1998. He played for the Sabres in the Stanley Cup finals. He was an assistant coach when they won the Presidents’ Trophy in 2007.
He’ll always cherish his time, but it’s over now as he and fellow assistant Kevyn Adams have been fired by Ron Rolston. Sources confirmed the decision Thursday afternoon.
Patrick and Adams were holdovers from the staff of Lindy Ruff, and their departures were expected when Rolston had the interim tag removed from his coaching title this week. Neither had a previous relationship with Rolston nor, sources said, a good relationship with General Manager Darcy Regier.
Teppo Numminen will continue working under Rolston. Numminen came aboard as a full-time assistant last summer. It was not clear whether goaltending coach Jim Corsi would be retained.
Rolston is interviewing assistant coach candidates and will not comment until he is finished.
Patrick spent six seasons under Ruff as a player and began working for him after his playing career ended in 2006. He coached defensemen and served as an extra coach with younger players toward the end of his career. Brian Campbell was among several former teammates who praised him for his leadership.
Adams was raised in Clarence and returned to the area after his playing career, which included beating the Sabres in the 2006 conference finals en route to the Stanley Cup, ended with the Blackhawks in 2008. He was hired during the 2011-12 season with no clear job description but ended up becoming an assistant coach.
“I was lucky to be here for 14 years,” Patrick said by phone. “I love Buffalo and I love the Sabres. I was just so lucky to be able to work with great people, especially Lindy. To me, Lindy was the spirit and heart and soul of the Sabres, and to learn from him and work with him was such a great experience.”
The 49-year-old said he plans to continue coaching.
The Sabres ranked 29th in power-play efficiency this season and 26th in penalty killing. They lose 1,820 games of NHL experience with the loss of Patrick and Adams.
“It allows you to know all the situations that players are going through,” Patrick said, “from young, naive, inexperienced players to older players still trying to hang on and can sometimes lack confidence but can still be real good, effective players. I guess what Kevyn and I can always relate to is we know exactly what they’re going through in all those situations.”
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