Lindy Ruff

Posted: January 17, 2013 in Sports

On July 21, 1997 Lindy Ruff became the 15th head coach in Sabres history. Ruff now entering his 14th season behind the bench may have more to prove than ever. With new ownership entering its second year; all eyes should be on Ruff.

Ruff has a rich history with the Sabres. He was Buffalo’s second round pick in 1979. He was known for his defensive style and grit. Lindy brings that same mentality to his coaching. However he may be too defensive minded for some players. Most notability, Ales Kotalik and Max Afinogenov .  Both players had few nice things to say about Ruff’s coaching style. As Ruff’s coaching career moves forward and he continues to rack up wins; players continue to questions his coaching methods.

Ruff has racked up a record of 526-418-132 over his 14 years with the Sabres. His playoff record is 57-44.  If you look at his record alone it’s hard to imagine Ruff not being behind the Sabres bench.  However, if the Sabres underachieve again this year that very well could be what happens. I believe Ruff’s grace period may be coming to an end. The fact is the Sabres have only made the playoffs 6 times with Ruff coaching them, and have made it out of the first round only 5 times may put Ruff’s feet to the fire.

The only saving grace for Ruff may be the lockout shortened season this year. But, I don’t believe that can be used as a reason for anything short of a deep playoff run. At this point in his career Ruff needs to prove he can motivate a young team. New owner Terry Pegula has provided the club and Ruff with everything they need to put a winning team on the ice, and frankly Buffalo is sick of excuses. This year is the year Ruff proves to everyone he belongs behind the bench for years to come.

It should be a win or go home year for Ruff. After 14 years as the Sabres head coach he has nothing to show for it. He needs to regroup and get the job done. There are only 48 games this year, and just squeaking into the playoffs won’t be enough unless the team goes past the first round. Ruff played here, he has coached here, now he had better win here or leave. If there is truly a new attitude at the First Niagara Center, prove it.

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