The New York Rangers have fired head coach John Tortarella just days after falling to the Boston Bruins in five games. The questions immediately move to who will Rangers GM Glen Sather will hire to replace Tortarella. One name immediately comes to mind and that is former Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff who was fired in Buffalo this past February.
Ruff would be a decent fit. He comes with a fairly impressive NHL resume that boasts over 500 wins. The only thing missing is a Stanley Cup win but he did lead the Sabres to a Cup appearance in 1998-99. Ruff commands a lot of respect on and off the ice and should be able to help change the image of the Rangers from a media standpoint after years of prickly Tortarella press conferences where his gruff demeanor was not very popular with the media and quickly grew old and tired.
Ruff could handle the New York media with ease having played with the Rangers from 1988-1991 so he would have some understanding of the expectations of the New York media. Is Ruff an angel with the media? No, but the Rangers don’t need him to be and Ruff will look like a cool breeze on a hot summer day compared to Tortarella. More importantly, he would command the respect of the players having had a fairly successful career as a player that saw him tally 300 points, 105 goals and 195 assists, in 691 games with the Sabres and Rangers.
The Rangers would also benefit from Ruff’s style of play where offense and attacking the puck would be stressed. All too often in recent years, especially this past season, the Rangers allowed the puck to stay in their zone too long. The Rangers have the talent to play a more open style of hockey. Youngsters Chris Kreider and J.T. Miller could benefit greatly from Ruff’s style and finally live up to the expectations that have been heaped upon them.
The next move the Rangers make could decide the fate of the future of this franchise. Henrik Lundqvist is hungry for a Stanley Cup and wants to win and his future with the Rangers is up in the air. Adding Ruff could allow the Rangers to finally take that next step and bring a Cup back to New York. The Rangers have the on-ice talent to compete and Ruff’s system could be just what the doctor ordered.