Sabres name Ron Rolston interim coach

02/21/2013 11:20 AM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Ron Rolston was in his second season with the AHL's Rochester Americans.(AHL)
The Buffalo Sabres have named Ron Rolston as interim head coach, and he will make his debut behind an NHL bench Thursday night when the Sabres travel to Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs.

Rolston, who had been the head coach of the Rochester Americans, Buffalo’s American Hockey League affiliate, was named to the post by GM Darcy Regier late Wednesday night, hours after the team dismissed previous coach Lindy Ruff after 16 seasons and 571 wins. In making the announcement, Regier said that Rolston will have the interim title for the remainder of the season, and will be judged as a potential candidate to take over the job full time depending on his performance.

The younger brother of former NHL star Brian Rolston, Ron was in his second season as Americans boss, and had brought the team great success; last year, Rochester went 36-26-10-4 en route to a playoff berth, and as of Wednesday, they stood sixth in the AHL’s Western Conference with a 27-18-2-1 record this season.

Before Rochester, Rolston spent seven seasons as coach of USA Hockey's National Team development program, and was the first coach to lead the U.S. Under-18 team to win three gold medals (2005, 2009, 2011).

"His teams play with structure, discipline. They have a work ethic," Regier said of Rolston's background.

Rolston was scheduled to meet with the players late Wednesday in advance of his debut, but he is already somewhat familiar with at least a handful of players on the Sabres’ roster; center Cody Hodgson, forward Marcus Foligno and defenseman T.J. Brennan played for Rochester during the NHL lockout, and on Wednesday, the Sabres also recalled center Kevin Porter, who was the Americans’ leading scorer this year.

“I think there are a lot of unknowns with our team right now," Regier said. "We believe in the players, that they can achieve certainly more than where we currently are. Hopefully, it's a lot more, but time will tell."

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