Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing personal against Darcy Regier or Lindy Ruff, but think both of them should be treated like their jobs are on the lines, or there will be no winning in Hockey Heaven by the Buffalo Sabres.
It is not hard to fathom what could happen in Buffalo if the slightest bit of pressure is put on both Lindy Ruff and Darcy Regier to make the Buffalo Sabres a winning hockey team. They might actually do their jobs better.
As it stand right now, both were kept on by a new management group – who were very adament on day 1 of their ownership that the longest running duo of head coach and general manager were not going anywhere. They have both since been inked to extensions keeping them in Buffalo even longer. Lets take a look at the coaching/managerial careers of these two men:
Lindy Ruff’s coaching experience was minimal prior to signing on with the Buffalo Sabres. He started out as an assistant coach with the Florida Panthers, one season after playing 81 games with the San Diego Gulls of the IHL. He spent a couple of years as an assistant coach before leaving for the head man’s job in Buffalo. His most successful season as an assistant in Florida was the 1996 Florida Panthers team that lost in the Stanley Cup Finals to the Colorado Avalanche.
How much of that team was Lindy Ruff’s genius and how much of that was head coach Doug MacLean? Since then the Florida Panthers have not had any luck in the post season, save for last years run that ended their drought. The Florida Panthers have had nine head coaches since MacLean left.
When he took the bench boss job in Buffalo, he had zero head coaching experience. Since taking his first ever coaching gig in the National Hockey League, there have been over 160 coaching changes in the National Hockey League, but he continues to have a job, despite lacking in the winning column.
Not counting the current year which is underway, he has made the playoffs only 50% of the time, has made it to the Stanley Cup once, and was a conference finalist three times.
Darcy Regier came to the Buffalo Sabres after having served as an assistant GM to Don Maloney, and a partial year as interim GM the year Maloney was hired. Regier was
added to the Buffalo Sabres as general manager the following summer, joining the pair of Lindy Ruff and Darcy Regier in the summer of 1997 – a pair that remains together today.
What has Regier done? Prior to coming to Buffalo is resume would have listed as bare compared to his coaching counterpart, who actually had several years of bench experience, and was also an experience player. Regier joined the Islanders front office after a long NHL career of just 26 games.
The question was posed to me just last night when I mentioned on Facebook that Lindy Ruff needed to go, who I thought would be the best candidate to replace him since I was no longer confident in his ability to lead this team. Any list, short or long would have to start with Phil Housley – and anyone with any coaching experience would be just as qualified to do the job as he was back on July 21st, 1997.