Ruff, as you may recall (wink wink!) was the head coach of the Sabres for an impressive 15 years, before he was freed from his duties around the midpoint of this past season. His name had been bandied about over the past few weeks as a possible candidate for the coaching vacancy with the New York Rangers. Anyone with half a brain figured that Ruff would be offered a chance to stand behind the bench once again; turns out Dallas was the team most interested.
While the head coach of the Sabres, Ruff compiled a record of 571-432-78, including two Northeast Division championships and a trip to the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals, where the Sabres lost to – wait for it – the Dallas Stars. Symmetry!
According to Stars president Jim Lites, “We respect Lindy a lot. I think he would be a great fit for us.” In saying so, Lites is almost certainly referring to the fact that Ruff inherits a group of players that include defensemen Alex Goligoski and Sergei Gonchar, as well as goaltender Kari Lehtonen – not a bad start for a guy who spent years winning with a team that relied on strong goaltending and defense.
As of the time of this post. nothing has been officially announced, but it would appear that the Stars and Ruff are finalizing contract details. We should know for certain by tomorrow.
If Dallas does seal the deal, I would like to wish you good luck, Lindy, against everyone in the NHL – except the Buffalo Sabres!