When Lindy Ruff took over head coach duties for the Dallas Stars, it was hoped that Ruff would bring a veteran mindset and stability to the organization. He was not the first choice for the Stars, who had reportedly considered both Alain Vigneault and John Tortorella, but Ruff was nonetheless one of the best options for the job.
The most important thing that Ruff brought to the table for the Stars was experience. Previous coach Glen Gulutzan had never coached an NHL team before his stint with the Stars, and in his two years with Dallas that lack of experience showed. Ruff, on the other hand, was the longest-serving NHL coach prior to his release from the Buffalo Sabres and had racked up an impressive resume of achievements. For a young team like the Dallas Stars, the knowledge that Ruff brought to the table was invaluable.
Given all of that, there were some concerns about Ruff coming to Dallas. There were rumors from Buffalo that Ruff had lost the ability to inspire and lead his team. Some wondered whether his style of coaching could adapt to today’s game. And perhaps one of the biggest questions surrounding Ruff was if he could coach a team all the way to a Stanley Cup. That last question will have to wait a little while, but with half a season in the books, Lindy Ruff has already put most of the doubts about him to rest.
Ruff and general manager Jim Nill have a shared vision of what they want the Dallas Stars to be, and it can’t be stressed enough how important that is. Ruff has been patient with the young team and understands that it is a work-in-progress. As far as the players on the Stars’ roster, it seems that they have responded to Ruff and are thriving under his guidance.
Currently, the Stars have a record of 28-21-10. Compared to Vigneault’s 33-24-3 record with the New York Rangers and Tortorella’s record of 28-24-9 with the Vancouver Canucks, Ruff is right on track with the other coaches the Stars had considered. In fact, you could argue Ruff is ahead of the curve given the talent and depth on the Canucks and Rangers compared to Dallas. It would seems that a change of scenery has been a good thing for Ruff.