Long-time Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff was fired Wednesday, and Rochester Americans coach Ron Rolston will coach the team through the end of the season, an emotional Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier announced.
The Amerks are the American Hockey affiliate of the Sabres. Rolston has led them to a 27-18-3 record. He will accompany the Sabres to Toronto and make his National Hockey League debut Thursday against the Maple Leafs.
“I saw his team play in Hamilton the other night,” Regier said. “His teams play with structure, discipline. They have a work ethic. He has a good hockey club down there right now. He has them playing great hockey.”
Rolston, in his second season in Rochester, will be the Sabres’ interim coach for the rest of the season, Regier said, and will be evaluated as a possible candidate to coach the Sabres next season.
The Sabres’ 2-1 loss to Winnipeg on Tuesday, with the home crowd booing their team frequently, was the “tipping point” for Ruff, Regier said.
Buffalo is in 13th place in the Eastern Conference with a 6-10-1 overall record.
The Sabres are owned by Terrence Pegula, who bought the team from Paychex Inc. founder and chairman Thomas Golisano.
Ruff, 53, a Sabres defenseman during his playing days, was hired as coach in 1997.
“He’ll get another job,” Regier said. “He’ll use this as a springboard, if he wants to.”
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