Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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February 21, 2013

RUFF DESCENT

Firing of Sabre coach just a matter of time, fans say

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Followers of the Buffalo Sabres didn’t mourn the firing of coach Lindy Ruff on Wednesday at Applebees. They felt it was just a matter of time and took the news in a matter-of-fact manner. They were a bit surprised, but not crushed.

Ruff coached 16 years and, for the younger fans, he was the only Sabres coach they knew. For the older fans, Ruff is a good man, but it was time to go. There has been a turnover of 170 NHL coaches since Ruff got the Buffalo job in 1997.

The Sabres are in last place in their division, with only six wins in 17 games. The home team was booed by fans at the First Niagara Arena while losing to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. That was Ruff’s 1,165th game as coach in the National Hockey League, all with Buffalo.

Dreams of a Stanley Cup diminished drastically. Hopes of just making the NHL playoffs are dim in a season cut short by the owners’ lockout.

Kelly Roeser, who was wearing a Sabres cap Wednesday, said, “It doesn’t surprise me at all. It seemed to be a good move. Players weren’t responding to him anymore. It’s a step in the right direction. They had to do it.”

With the shortened season, Roeser feel it’s too late to for Buffalo to make a playoff run.

”I think Darcy Regier should go too. I want someone to show a little more emotion on the bench. Talent wise they’ve got two decent lines, but a few guys aren’t pulling their weight. They’re too soft,” Roeser added.

Eric Fry, who was 5 when Ruff was hired, feels indifferent the shakeup.

”It had to happen,” he said. “He’s an all right coach, but he’s been here 16 years. It was time.”

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