The Buffalo Sabres were impressed enough with what they saw from interim head coach Ron Rolston that they made him the permanent head coach of the team on Tuesday.
Rolston took over the Sabres after long-time coach Lindy Ruff was let go. For the second straight season the Sabres were off to a very disappointing start leading to Ruff's dismissal. Rolston took over with 31 games to play and under his watch the Sabres compiled a 15-11-5 record and had a fleeting moment of hope that the playoffs were in reach with a week to go.
Perhaps most impressively was how the Sabres played after the trade deadline when they traded captain Jason Pominville as well as veteran defenseman Robyn Regehr. The close of the season wasn't meaningless for Rolston, it was an audition. That audition was good enough to land him the leading role.
Now we'll get the chance to see what Rolston can do in a full season behind the bench, though he figures to have a very young and inexperienced team to lead.
Rolston came up from AHL Rochester indicating that the Sabres would be interested in player development going forward considering that's where some of Rolston's best attributes are. In addition to coaching in the AHL he has previously been involved with USA Hockey in multiple forms including coaching the World Juniors.
One of the big questions moving forward is how much patience will there be for Rolston? It's not going to be a quick fix in Buffalo and they seem to recognize that by keeping Rolston around.