When asked to make up a list of all of the Buffalo Sabres' head coaches in history, Jimmy Roberts' name might not come up quickly. That's too bad, since Roberts had an interesting hockey history.
The Toronto native played his first NHL game with Montreal during the 1963-64 season. He was called up to the Canadiens for good the next season, and was a regular for three full seasons on defense.
The St. Louis Blues took Roberts with their first choice in the expansion draft in 1967. Over the next four seasons, Roberts was a regular for some good Blues teams. He moved up to forward and was in double digits in goals for those four seasons.
Roberts played under Scotty Bowman then, and the two were reunited when Roberts was traded back to Montreal.
When Bowman moved to Buffalo as a coach in 1979, Roberts came with him as an assistant. He was promoted to head coach during the 1981-82 season, where he went 21-16-8. That wasn't good enough at the time, so Bowman returned to the job for the end of the season. Roberts stayed in Buffalo until 1984.
From there, he mostly worked as a coach in the minors or as an assistant in the NHL. The exception was in 1991-92, when he guided the Whalers to the playoffs. Roberts left hockey in 2002.
-- Budd Bailey
Sports Ink blog at buffalonews.com/blogs