You often hear about local news anchors making their way through upstate New York — perhaps Binghamton, Syracuse, Albany, Buffalo — before finally making their way to the Big Apple. This happens across the sports landscape as well with both assistants and head coaches, though for hockey it seems Buffalo is a more suitable spot than it is for some other sports due to demographics and bordering of Canada. Seems like a great place to a be a hockey professional or fan.
However, Manhattan’s allure is pervasive and when that big city money is calling it’s hard to ignore, especially when you’ve accomplished as much in such a long tenure as Coach Lindy Ruff has done with the Buffalo Sabres. Hockey Night in Canada recently reported that the New York Rangers have sought and received permission to speak with Ruff.
Ruff is expected to have some great competition for the post with former Rangers captain and fan-favorite Mark Messier in the running along with Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, whose squad stumbled during the postseason and was swept in four games but did rally from fringe-playoff team to No. 3 seed out of the Western Conference. Dallas Eakins is now out of the running after accepting the head coaching job with the Edmonton Oilers.
The Rangers fired John Tortorella after the team’s quick second-round exit against the Boston Bruins, which was a decision that might have been set in motion if New York fell anywhere short of the Stanley Cup finals. No shame in losing to Boston the way they’re playing, but the pressure’s always on in the tri-state area, which I imagine would take some getting used to if Ruff comes over from Buffalo.