Well if you haven’t heard it by now, bye bye Lindy Ruff. After a 13 year tenure, Ruff has been shown the door by the Buffalo Sabres organization. Over that span of 13 years, Ruff posted a 571-432-78 record for the team from upstate new york, as well as only missing the playoffs five times. Of the other 8 times making the playoffs, four were to conference finals, and one Stanley cup final against the stars. To be honest if he got that series against Dallas we may not be talking about Lindy job hunting today. Regardless.. he’s one of the best coaches out there that’s jobless today, ranking second all time in games coached for a single franchise.
According to ESPN, The Sabres hired coach Lindy Ruff on July 21, 1997, and fired him Wednesday. During that span, 170 coaching changes had been made in the NHL. Only the legendary Al Arbour coached more games for any single NHL franchise than Ruff did.
I’m not so sure that I like this to be honest. To me the Sabres are getting rid of a guy that has done a hell of a lot, from a coaching standpoint for this team. Lets be real.. after the top two lines, the Sabres don’t have a lot of depth. Because of the loss of Derek Roy, they’re forcing players like Tyler Ennis, and Nathan Gerbe to play a more prominent role for them. Albeit Ennis is progressing nicely this year with 13 points.. but still. I guess management doesn’t realize that these guys are still young.. yes 24 is still young all you Ranger fans, you can’t expect them to hop right into the NHL with no problems. Especially a guy with Gerbe’s size..
I mean he still kind of looks like he should be playing bantams. Talented no doubt, but his size is going to make it a little more difficult for him to adapt to the NHL style of play. This is a team that doesn’t have an, as Kevin Weeks would say “embarrassment of riches.”
Lets also take a look at the defense, talented on paper. Under-performing? No doubt. They’re best defenseman is a guy who I think is a bit over the hill, in Christian Ehrhoff with 10 points. The next closest defensemen to that is Leopold with 4.. Oh by the way, has anyone seen Tyler Myers? The Sabres defense have two.. yes two players that are in the positive for +/-. Now clearly these guys aren’t helping Ryan Miller out much, but he hasn’t exactly been Mr. America in net either. He may be stopping 90% of his shots, but that means nothing if you’re letting in almost three goals a game.
Now I’m sure people will be saying, “Hey Charlie, this all goes back to coaching, if Ruff were coaching them better he would be getting more out of his players.” Shut it. This team is not Ruffs fault. Management failed to give him any offensive power, and his defense is as fragile as a card house. This team reminds me of a Rangers team 2 years ago, when Tortorella took over, and preached his defense first, block shots system. Which is made for a team that doesn’t have a lot of talent up front, and guess what it worked! They had one major scorer at that point which was Marian Gaborik, (Thomas Vanek for the sabres) and a bunch of grinders. Don’t be surprised if interim coach Ron Rolston puts a system like this on the ice to try and squeeze some wins out of these guys. Either way, I’m sure Lindy will be missed in Buffalo. But in the word of the great Rob Ryan, “I inherited a team that was 31st in the league in defense and made them better. I f@#&ing made them a hell of a lot better. I’ll be out of work for like five minutes.”