The Buffalo Sabres have found their head coach. Today the Sabres have removed the interim tag from Ron Rolston. Rolston is the 16th coach in Sabres history. It seems that the Sabres did not do much searching for their next head coach. There were rumors that Buffalo wanted Patrick Roy. A second name that came up around Buffalo was Vancouver Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault. The conversation around Vigneault was centered on the Canucks firing him after the playoffs.
Rolston has never played NHL hockey, but hockey is in his blood. Rolston has coach on many levels. He spent seven season with the USA National Team Development Program. While with USA Hockey Rolston lead his teams to three gold medals (2005,2009,2011), Rolston has also won a silver medal in 2007 (IIHF). Rolston Joined the Rochester American in 2011. When the Sabres fired Lindy Ruff Rolston was brought up to the Sabres. Rolstons record with the American was 63-44-17. Last year in 31 games with the Sabres Rolston went 15-11-5.
It is clear that Rolston has the guts to be a NHL coach, but the Buffalo Sabres can not afford to go on guts alone. Rolston seems to be the players choice, but not the fans choice. There is little doubt that Rolston can lead a team, the question is can he continue to teach, and coach NHL players? While I can not answer that I do believe that Rolston does bring a few positives that other coach could not bring to the Sabres.
Rolston has had the chance to watch his players for 31 games, he has also coached a bunch of the future Sabres while in Rochester. Next year Rolston will have the chance to have a full pre-season to reevaluate his team. Combined with what he already know, and the added time he will have around the players it should allow for Rolston to work toward what he believes is a winning style of play.
I’m sure that the Sabres have a direction in mind, and they seem to be more than happy to give Rolston the keys to the car, but I for one would have been happier seeing a non company man come into Buffalo. The Sabres went 16 years with a company men in Ruff, and Regier, and once again the Sabres have gone back to the company well. One thing is for sure if the combination of Regier and Rolston fall short this house of card will crumble. Darcy Regier has been given the chance to prove he knows how to piece together a winning team. The Sabres success sits squarely on Regier shoulders. Hopefully for Sabres Nation, Regier and Rolston can get the Blue and Gold back in the hunt for the Stanley Cup. One thing is for sure both men will have a short leash with Sabres fans.