The Buffalo Sabres Have Fired Head Coach Lindy Ruff

Feb 17, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff leaving ice after first period against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the First Niagara Center. Penguins beat the Sabres 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The Lindy Ruff era is officially over in Buffalo, New York.

Following another lackluster performance by the Buffalo Sabres – namely, last night’s 2-1 loss against the lowly Winnipeg Jets –  the organization announced today that Ruff has been relieved of his duties.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict what the overwhelming majority of Sabres’ fans are thinking and saying today: “Finally!”  ”About time!”  ”What took so long?”  ”Thank God!”  And maybe even “Is Darcy Regier next?”

Ruff led the Sabres to the Stanley Cup Finals back in 1999, only his second year as head coach.  He also was responsible for leading the Sabres to back-to-back 50 win seasons (2005-2006 and 2006-2007), becoming the first coach in Sabres history to do so.  However, his teams have failed to make the playoffs in three out of the past five years, and famously failed to make it out of the Eastern Conference quarter finals despite earning the number one seed in the east during the regular season.

This year, the Sabres have struggled mightily, and fans have been calling for Ruff’s head pretty much every day for the past three weeks.  (I’m going to ignore the fact that some fans were calling for his head years ago!)   The Sabres started this year with high hopes, fully intending to not only make the playoffs but to also make a serious run at bringing home Lord Stanley’s Cup.  However, with one third of the season accounted for and the Sabres owning a putrid record of 6-10-1, the Sabres organization clearly does not like what it sees so far, and has decided that it’s time to close the curtain on the reign of the NHL’s longest-tenured coach.

As of the time of this post, the Sabres have not named Ruff’s replacement.  A press conference will be held later today.

While I never called for Ruff to be fired out-right, I did suggest that the Sabres at least make him a healthy scratch for a game or two, to give him a chance to gain a clearer vision of what was transpiring out on the ice.   Now that the Sabres have fired Ruff, I am curious to see where they head next.  Do they attempt to acquire another player, like Ryan O’Reilly, in order to give their offense a boost in an effort to salvage the season?   Or do they start cleaning house as they look ahead to next year?  As always, I love to hear your thoughts, so leave your comments below or follow me @theaveragedick and let me know via Twitter what you think the Sabres will do next!

Topics: Buffalo Sabres, Lindy Ruff

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  • Craig C.

    Well, Rich…you are correct. Mark me down for Option 2 – “About time!” I have been wanting this for five years, and that’s the truth. I think he lost touch with the players that long ago, and never got it back. I think Darcy deserved to go, too. What has he done to keep his job? I’m surprised you didn’t speculate on who will replace Ruff although it’s probably too early. I would assume an assistant will take over in the interim. Do we go with James Patrick or do go outside and get a veteran NHL coach?

    • http://www.facebook.com/Drunkenribeye Rich Spalding

      Eh, I thought about doing a bunch of speculation – but then I went with the option of “Let the readers speculate!” I’m curious as to what all of you think, and don’t want to fill your heads with ideas . . . yet!

      • davidmuscalo

        The Amerks coach, Ralston is taking over.

  • Craig C.

    ….or do we go with a popular ex-player like Phil Housley?

    • http://www.facebook.com/Drunkenribeye Rich Spalding

      When this news broke, I was writing a piece about Buffalo’s options. I’m not just looking at Ryan O’Reilly, so I plan on speculating on a few options.

      • http://twitter.com/theaveragedick Richard Spalding

        This comment appeared out of place – sorry Craig! Didn’t mean to break off from the potential coaching candidates conversation!!

    • Timothy Redinger

      I would love to go with Phil Housley – if he is looking to get in on the NHL – we have just given him an opening.

  • Andrew Thompson

    Guess that karma backlash for the timeout in our first loss showed up rather quickly.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Drunkenribeye Rich Spalding

      That, or it was his terrible coaching. Either or. Thanks for 1/3 of our wins, by the way!!!!

    • Timothy Redinger

      Talk about bitter fans – the timeout was necessary because of who Boston put on the ice – nothing more, nothing less. Get over, your team has lost twice in regulation, both times to the Buffalo Sabres.

  • Kevin

    I have been feeling this coming for a while now pretty strong, just wasn’t sure if management had the cahoonas to actually follow through it off. About time.

  • PaulR

    I really don’t feel this is a big deal. I’ve been fired from, and quite jobs many times. Change is good.

    Ruff should have been let go 3-4 years ago, and certainly when Pegula took-over. Ruff probably would be doing better with a new team by now, and the Buffalo fans would not have had to put up with the Chinese water-torture that was this soft, on-paper-appears-good, but in-fact-below-average team

  • [email protected]

    I just hope that something good comes of firing Ruff. What matters here is that we start winning games. I would like to see lines get switched up, and maybe some new players brought in.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Drunkenribeye Rich Spalding

      Hear hear. I should have one, maybe two posts up tomorrow about who I think the Sabres should go after. The organization should definitely not let this change go to waste.

  • davidmuscalo

    Firing Ruff is a start, but Regier and at least half a dozen players need to go. Start with Stafford, Leopold, Enroth, Leino, Gerbe and Hecht. It’s time to blow up the team and bring in some players who want to play 60 minutes and every shift. No coach will be able to get production from the six aforementioned, I’d also put Myers on notice.