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!