Lindy Ruff may be getting roughed up

Remember when Lindy Ruff took over for Ted Nolan in 1997? I was as shocked as anyone that Nolan was sent his walking papers. To be honest, I wasn’t that angry about it because I really didn’t think Nolan was anything more then a good motivator with a brilliant goaltender.

I had no clue who this guy Ruff was, because I was to young to remember him play. I just thought he looked like a walrus or a distant cousin of Mike Holmgren.

12 years later, Ruff is still the top fish at the HSBC Arena. He’s arguably the biggest and most popular active sports figure in Buffalo. He has either won with playing a defense style or a shoot em’ up type offense. Ruff’s been untouchable.

When the Sabres went from Stanley Cup finalists to an 8th seed, no one blamed Ruff. When they went 3 straight years earlier this decade without making the playoffs, everyone blamed John Rigas. When the Sabres lost Chris Drury and Daniel Briere making them go from President’s Trophy to 10th seed, everyone blamed management.

But how long can Mr. Teflon get a pass for the Sabres short comings? Can you remember a time when Ruff was under this much pressure? And to be honest, it really isn’t that much. Ruff has never been under any scrutiny from the fans or even the media to perform. Ruff is good with a quote, which the media loves him for. His time with the Sabres as a player, and his no non-sense approach as a coach has kind of made him a hero amongst the fans. The room is at room temperature for Ruff, but another non-playoff season and hawks will be out.

Another factor is this is Ruff’s contract year with the Sabres. I had written earlier that I didn’t understand why Ruff always wanted to stay in Buffalo. He could of went anywhere else with a bigger pay roll and market. Lets not forget, when he signed his 3-year extension it was just prior to the Briere/Drury debacle. After the c0-captains departure from Buffalo, Ruff was asked if he regretted signing the extension knowing the Sabres would be far less competitive, “hindsight is 20/20,” Ruff said. Not exactly a glowing ring. Ruff maybe getting sick of the Sabres way of doing business.
If there is any knock I have on Ruff is his constant juggling of lines, I believe chemistry is very important in hockey and just throwing player’s names in a hat and see what you pull out, just doesn’t work. And Ruff should thank his lucky stars that some of the players who he’d driven out of town haven’t exactly blossomed. 
Look, I do like Ruff as a coach but if the Sabres are going to keep using the catch phrase “accountability,” shouldn’t Ruff be under the same phrase? 
The biggest thing is how long can you have the same coach year in and year out? Al Davis theory on coaches is once they’ve been at a place for over 10 years as a coach, it’s time for them to move on because their message has become stale and teams have caught up to their schemes. Ruff is in year 13, will it be an unlikely 13 for Mr. Teflon? 
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6 Responses to Lindy Ruff may be getting roughed up

  1. Dale says:

    lets not sound like an idiot here…ruff doesn't pull names out of a hat to make lines. im quite sure he is at practice everyday with the players, attempting to find good line combos…this is the NHL.regardless, lindy ruff is playing a big part on the canadian olympic team. by that logic, he's considered one of the best coaches from one of the best hockey countries. i'll leave it at that.

  2. joe says:

    I was joking about the hat..but he does juggle them all the time…but if the Sabres seem to think they have the talent, shouldn't ruff take some of the blame for the team not making the playoffs 5-7 years? its like he gets a pass…ive seen coaches get fired after guiding their teams to stanley cup finals the year after…if they can get the blame so can Lindy.

  3. joe says:

    Thanks for not calling my a douche bag btw

  4. Dale says:

    ha no problem…i think lindy is more of an "urgency juggler". that is, he'll juggle when there are slumps or injuries. you'll rarely see him juggle for the hell of it. at least thats the way it appears to me.

  5. joe says:

    And Dale, can you at least admit you can't stand larry quinn..please, I know your a huge Sabres backer but even Kevin Sylvester probably hates the guy

  6. Dale says:

    yes i will admit it…i do not like him. i think he's best left to marketing the team. which you have to admit he's not too shabby at (winter classic, party in the plaza). he really sells the brand. but as a hockey guy hes a joke, no denying that. unfortunately he is a minorty owner and will likely never go away. luckily/hopefully he understands the importance of the team to the area and would probably never allow it to move. quite a catch 22 if you ask me. solution: separate the hockey dept and marketing dept at the arena. all doors require thumbprint access. his thumb print wont work on the hockey dept doors. problem solved. oh one more thing…im pretty sure he's the fashionista behind the slug debacle. sick choice lawrence. at least he came around with the new thirds.

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