Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Sports

February 21, 2013

Ruff & Tumble

The Sabres fire head coach Lindy Ruff

(Continued)

BUFFALO —

Ruff finished with a 571-432-162 record, and was also the active leader among NHL coaches with the same team.
The news of his firing came as a surprise only because Sabres management, including team president Ted Black, had spent much of the past week voicing its support of Ruff. Team owner Terry Pegula was also regarded as a big fan of Ruff.
Pegula, however, was running out of options in his bid to turn the Sabres into a Stanley Cup contender, an objective he made clear upon purchasing the team two years ago. Ruff’s firing comes nearly two years to the day Pegula formally took over as the Sabres owner on Feb. 22, 2011.
“The hockey world knows how I and the entire Buffalo Sabres organization feel about Lindy Ruff not only as a coach but also as a person,” Pegula said in a statement released by the team. “His qualities have made this decision very difficult. I personally want Lindy to know that he can consider me a friend always.”
Ruff was becoming increasingly aware that his job was on the line. Last week, he described the Sabres struggles as being “his mess,” while adding that he wasn’t done trying to clean it up.
On Wednesday, he abruptly cut short his availability with reporters by hinting that changes were coming because “it isn’t working the way we’re going.” He didn’t specify what those changes might be.
Under Ruff, the Sabres made the playoffs in each of his first four seasons and eight times overall. That included a surprising run to the Stanley Cup final in 1999, when Buffalo was eliminated by Dallas in six games.
The Sabres lost that series to the Stars on what was regarded a controversial finish. Brett Hull’s decisive goal scored in a 2-1 triple-overtime win was allowed to stand despite the Stars forward having his skate in the crease, which at the time was considered illegal.

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