Buffalo Sabres commit to Ron Rolston as head coach

Tuesday May 7th, 2013

Ron Rolston is the head coach of the Buffalo Sabres. Buffalo coach Ron Rolston now has to ponder if he wants new assistants. (Marianne Helm/Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

There won't be many Buffalo Sabres fans left slack-jawed at the news that the team has removed the "interim" from Ron Rolston's title and made the team's head coach for next season.

Rolston, who stepped behind the bench in February when Lindy Ruff was let go after more than 14 seasons on the job, did nothing during the stretch run to prove that he wasn't up to the task. The Sabres, who were 6-10-1 when he took over, finished on a 15-11-5 kick. Not good enough to make the playoff cut in the Eastern Conference, but enough of an improvement to suggest that he could be part of the solution.

Rolston earned a reputation as a strong teacher while coaching Buffalo's AHL affiliate in Rochester. That will be key to his success moving forward. The Sabres were young this year, and they could be even younger next season, especially if general manager Darcy Regier decides to part with impending free agents Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller. If the plan is to hothouse the organization's top prospects in Buffalo next year, Rolston's ability to instill a strict structure will be tested.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.