Buffalo Sabres general manager Darcy Regier announced this afternoon that Lindy Ruff had been fired as the team’s head coach.
The struggles in Buffalo could not be ignored by Sabres owner Terry Pegula anymore and Ruff was the first casualty of them. With the team sitting at a disappointing 6-10-1 through their first 17 games, a change needed to be made. The feeling around the league was that Ruff was done with the Sabres sometime this season, whether midseason or at the end of the year, so this move is not shocking. Some may be shocked by the timing, but the most shocking thing is that Regier is not joining him.
Many believed Ruff and Regier to be a package deal, including Pierre LeBrun, so the fact that Regier apparently fired Ruff is somewhat surprising to many.
The Sabres’ longtime coach had been behind the bench since the 1997-98 season. The longest tenured coach in the NHL at the beginning of the season, Ruff’s tenure saw 170 coaching changes in the league elsewhere. Ruff had won 565 games as the Sabres’ head coach, which easily puts him atop the Sabres’ all-time ranks, with John Muckler in second with 125 wins.
While Ruff’s exit may have felt overdue by most, many believe that he will not be out of work for very long. He will likely be at the top of most teams’ list for a replacement coach this season.
As for who will take over the Sabres’ job, a few names have been thrown out in speculation already, including former great Patrick Roy, who also happened to be Mikhail Grigorenko’s junior coach in Quebec of the QMJHL. Mike Keenan has been talked about as early as last year as well, but given his reputation, it seems unlikely he’ll end up with Buffalo.
No news has been released as to the next coach, or who will step in as the interim coach until a replacement is found as of yet.
The Sabres play in Toronto tomorrow night against the Maple Leafs.
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