Guards of Hockey Heaven-Lindy Ruff

Okay guys, tell me the truth. Who really guessed Lindy Ruff? Anyone…I couldn’t think of a better person to start this with. Some of you might have been thinking it was a player but Ruff has been in Buffalo for 25 years. No better man to start with in my option.

Lindy Cameron Ruff was born on February 17, 1960 in Warburg, AB, Canada. He was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the second round, 32nd overall, in the 1979 NHL Draft. Ruff played both left wing and defence and from 1979-1989, he played with the Sabres. During those last 3 years in Buffalo he served as captain before he was traded, on deadline day to the New York Rangers in 1989 for a draft pick. The Sabres used that pick to draft Richard Smehlik, who ended up playing under Ruff…ironic?! Ruff played 691 regular season games where he scored 105 goals, 195 assists, and racked up 1,264 penalty minutes. He also played 52 playoff games, in those games he netted 11 goals, 13 assisted, and had 193 penalty minutes.

From the 1993 season to 1997 he was the assistant coach of the Florida Panthers. His most successful season with the Panthers came in 1996 when they made it to the Stanley Cup finals against the Colorado Avalanche. They lost the Cup but Ruff got a good look at his future Sabres captain Chris Drury. He became the 15th Buffalo head coach when he took the job from Ted Nolan on July 21, 1997. After the lock out ended, the Sabres had a break though year which led Ruff to winning the Jack Adams award for the best coach in the NHL, voted on by your peers. The next season he was again nominated but finished a close second to Alain Vigneault of the Vancouver Canucks. Ruff is the only Sabre coach to have back to back 50 win seasons, that’s pretty impressive when you look at the Hall of Fame coaches Buffalo has had over the years. He is the longest tenured coach in the NHL and 3rd among all professional sports. He is behind only Tony LaRussa of the St.Louis Cardinals and Greg Popovich of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs. On January 1, 2011 Ruff became the winning-est coach in the NHL to win 500 game with only 1 team, when the boys beat the Phoenix Coyotes 2-1 in overtime. And in late April 2011, just days after Terry Pegula took over ownership, Lindy Ruff signed a multi year contract extension.

“Lindy ain’t goin’ nowhere.” (God of Hockey Heaven, Terry Pegula)

Tomorrow is going to feature a player. Who you may ask? You’ll just have to come back and see.

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