Lindy Ruff became the 16th head coach in NHL history to hit 500 wins. He did it in his 1,024 game. Congratulations to him for making yet another milestone in his career.
What makes that stat more interesting, is he ties Toe Blake of the Montreal Canadiens as the only head coach to win 500 with one team. Now, Toe Blake had less games per season, and had the benefit of being with one of the most dominant sports franchises in the history of professional sports, but he hit 500 games in just 914 contests. Toe Blake hit the magic number 500 and that was it. Lindy Ruff has just over a half season to add to his 500 mark and beyond, depending on if he returns to the bench as a member of this organization. WIth or without the Buffalo Sabres Lindy could end up at the very top of the list of coaches with 500 or more wins, if the Buffalo Sabres choose to go another route at the head coach spot, there is little doubt in any ones mind that he will be picked up by another team.
Lindy Ruff also had the benefit of their being no ties in the NHL during his tenure, Toe Blake has 159 ties to his credit – if no ties were used in his era his 500 number would obviously be a little larger.
What will be most memorable about number 500 for it to stick out among all the rest for Lindy, is it was probably his clubs best all around effort so far in this campaign, marked by poor play, sophmore slumps, injuries, and a lack of talent.
Lindy Ruff will also crack the top ten coaching records by the end of this season if things continue to go well (or worse) for the Buffalo Sabres. He only needs three wins to beat out Glen Sather (502) for the tenth spot on most wins all time for a coach. If the Buffalo Sabres do not make the playoffs this year, Ruff will end up with 1066 career games as a head coach – besting current tenth place holder Brian Sutter (1028). 49 more losses for the man behind the blue and gold bench will put him in ninth, giving him one more loss than both Milt Schmidt (427) and Sid Abel (427). Ruff will need at least one more full season to earn a spot on that list.
As far as Stanley Cup’s go, there is a three way tie for the bottom of the top ten list with 3 Stanley Cup’s each, belonging to Pete Green, Jack Adams, and Tommy Ivan. Lindy Ruff will need several seasons to make that list, and possibly several different teams.