The Buffalo Sabres introduced Ron Rolston as the 16th head coach in franchise history on Thursday, prior to tonight’s game in Toronto against the Maple Leafs.
Rolston’s message was simple: There isn’t going to be a major overhaul, the players know what to do and, perhaps most importantly, the time for talking has passed.
Here’s more, from Sabres.com:
“We understand at this point that the talking part of things is over. As Michael Jordan says, ‘I want to see it done and I want to hear it done.
“We just talked about the situation. For a lot of players, that was their first time involved in a situation like that where a coach was let go and a new one was coming in to talk to them.
“We briefly talked about what we wanted to focus on; not worry about where we’re at, but what direction we’re moving in at this point.
“There’s not going to be major changes in terms of systems and things like that. Certainly, I think the players know what needs to be done at this point. The responsibility at this point falls on us to make sure we’re moving in that direction.
“And most importantly for the players as individuals, they have to make sure they’re accountable, and when they come to the rink tonight they’re ready to roll.”
Rolton, 46, is known for developing young players — appropriate, as he now becomes one of the league’s youngest coaches.
He spent extensive time with Marcus Foligno, TJ Brennan and Kevin Porter in AHL Rochester, and coached the likes of Brian Boyle, Ben Lovejoy, Stephen Gionta, Patrick Eaves, Andrew Alberts and Peter Harrold while serving two years as an assistant at Boston College.
Described as a “technically sound” coach, Rolston is expected to bring his detail-oriented approach to the Sabres.
“We did a lot of video,” Foligno said of his time under Rolston in Rochester. “He brought me in to explain what he expected from me, and that he wanted me to be an important player. He just explained the facts.
“We started with the little things, and from there it moved on to bigger things. Ron is just very good at developing young guys, and I’m very fortunate to have been coached by him.”