Sabres strip interim tag from Rolston

The Buffalo Sabres have removed the interim tag from Ron Rolston and named him the head coach on a full-time basis.

Rolston had taken over behind the bench on Feb. 20 after Lindy Ruff was fired. He guided the Sabres to a record of 15-11-5 in 31 games after being promoted from the team's American Hockey League affiliate in Rochester and had Buffalo in the playoff hunt until the final two week of the season after a disastrous start.

"I was very impressed with the work he did individually and with the players, and I look forward to him continuing that," said Sabres general manager Darcy Regier at a press conference Tuesday.

The Sabres finished 21-21-6 for 48 points during the lockout-shortened season, seven points out of a playoff spot. Buffalo failed to reach the postseason for the second straight year and for the fourth time in the past six seasons.

"For me, it's both exciting and humbling to be able to be the head coach of such a storied organization," said Rolston. "Coming in as an interim coach, it has allowed me to get familiar with the organization and the players. The capabilities and the potential here are very exciting for myself and we will take great pride and work extremely hard to get where we want to go."

In two seasons at Rochester, Rolston led the Americans to a mark of 63-44-17.

Rolston, the older brother of recently retired NHL player Brian Rolston, spent seven seasons as head coach with USA Hockey's national team development program. He became the first coach in U.S. history to lead the Under-18 team to three gold medals at the Under-18 IIHF world championship.

Ruff had been the longest-tenured coach in the NHL before his dismissal. A former player for the Sabres, he amassed a 571-432-78-84 record in his 15 seasons and directed the team to the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals in his second year at the helm.