Sabres tab Rochester's Ron Rolston to coach after Lindy Ruff firing

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With a head coaching vacancy for the first time in nearly 16 years, the Buffalo Sabres are turning to AHL Rochester Americans head coach Ron Rolston.

Rolston will be brought on as the Sabres' interim coach. But you have to think that if he performs well, he'll have a real shot at taking the position full time.

"He will be our coach for the rest of the season," GM Darcy Regier said. "It will give us a chance to get to know him. And if things go well, he could be our coach beyond this season."

After the Sabres took the shocking step and fired Lindy Ruff, Buffalo's coach since 1997, the immediate next step became naming a replacement. It's been so long since Buffalo had to even look for a new coach that perhaps they didn't know how to begin. It's sometimes best to just start at home. Rochester is the AHL affiliate of the Sabres, and Rolston was its boss.

Rolston, 45, was named coach of the Americans two seasons ago after coaching for seven seasons in the USA's National Team Development Program. In his first season with Rochester, the team was 36-26-10-4 and earned a spot in the Calder Cup playoffs.

He was brought to Rochester based largely on his experience and background in player development, obviously an ideal thing to have on the resume of a coach dealing with prospects. Rolston had a large hand in helping to develop many of the American players who just won gold at the World Juniors in January.

Rolston also coached the 2007 and 2009 American team at the World Juniors as the head man. The point is, the guy has put in his dues and is going to get a crack at the NHL.

If the name Rolston sounds familiar, it's because he is the brother of Brian Rolston, who played most recently with the Bruins and Islanders in the 2011-12 season.

Chadd Cassidy is expected to take over the head coaching duties in Rochester.

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