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Buffalo Sabres Change Little in Lindy Ruff, Ron Rolston Transition

February 20th, 2013 at 8:51 PM
By Anthony Custode Jr

It was pretty evident that the Buffalo Sabres needed to make a change, especially after the team's terrible 2-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets Tuesday.

'Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff' photo (c) 2009, Roswell Park - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

So in response to the team's lackluster performance, the Sabres fired long-time head coach Lindy Ruff and turned the reigns over to Ron Rolston, who was coaching the Rochester Americans in the AHL.

Ruff coached the Sabres since 1997, and was the longest tenured head coach in the NHL. Sure, his message seemed stale and the team needed to make a change, but their choice in Ruff's replacement leads to the assumption that the Sabres didn't have a plan. Rolston's insertion into the head coaching role implies that Ruff's firing was a knee-jerk reaction to the team's atrocious performance lately. The fact is, allowing Ruff to assume the position for so long, only to rip it away from him without a thorough plan in place is irresponsible to Ruff, the players and the fans.

While many fans have celebrated Ruff's departure, and believe the Sabres' problems have been solved, they may have a rude awakening. Rolston's system isn't very different from Ruff's, which general manager Darcy Regier admitted during his press conference. They still have the same, under-producing players, ie Drew Stafford. 

Many have compared Ruff's departure to that of NFL head coach Andy Reid's departure from the Philadelphia Eagles. However, there is a difference. Reid was given one, final, full season to turn his team around. Ruff, was given part of a shortened season. And while the Sabres have been as good as the milk in the back of the fridge that has last year's date on it, the change to Rolston really wasn't much of a change, especially with the interim title he will hold for the season. The fact is, if this was truly Buffalo's plan, they would have been better off to allow Ruff to finish the season. 

Tags: Buffalo, Buffalo Sabres, Hockey, NHL

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