Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Sabres

February 21, 2013

Ruff & Tumble

The Sabres fire head coach Lindy Ruff

(Continued)

BUFFALO —

The Sabres, however, haven’t been the same since they reached the Eastern Conference finals — losing both times — in both 2006 and ‘07. Buffalo has missed the playoffs in three of the past five seasons.
Last year, the Sabres were regarded as one of the NHL’s biggest busts in missing the playoffs with a high-priced roster. The previous offseason, Pegula committed nearly $140 million in salary to add talent and re-sign players.
Ruff had maintained his job under three owners, and also weathered the Sabres declaring bankruptcy during the 2002-03 season before Tom Golisano purchased the team. Ruff had considered quitting his job after that season before he was talked into staying by new managing partner Larry Quinn.
The Sabres prided themselves in the stability they had at GM and coach. Regier was in his second season in Buffalo when he hired Ruff to take over after Ted Nolan declined to accept the team’s one-year contract offer to re-sign.
There had been 170 coaching changes in the NHL since Ruff was hired on July 21, 1997. And among North America’s four major pro sports, Ruff’s tenure was second only behind Gregg Popovich, who’s been coach of the NBA San Antonio Spurs since 1996.
Ruff’s 571 wins rank second in the NHL with one team, trailing only Al Arbour, who had 740 wins with the New York Islanders.
Ruff’s ties to Buffalo go back to his days as a player. Selected in the second round of the 1979 draft by the Sabres, Ruff made the team later that year. In November 1986, he replaced star Gilbert Perreault as the Sabres captain.
 

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