Sabres coach Lindy Ruff was candid today when facing questions about all the criticism he's been getting and scrutiny he's been under over the past several weeks. Ruff expected as much and acknowledged that it comes with the territory.
"When you're not playing well, they'll point at the coach," Ruff said. "I think it's fair. We've had some players who haven't performed to where we want, and that's my responsibility. I don't think there's any ducking that."
Ruff has had a relatively easy ride since he was hired in 1997, mainly because he's one of the better coaches in the league. The bigger problem, in my opinion, has been GM Darcy Regier not getting him the right players or buckling to Larry Quinn and Tom Golisano when it became apparent that money was more important than winning.
I also agree with captain Craig Rivet, who said criticism directed at Ruff should be redirected toward the dressing room. He blames the players for the Sabres' problems. Everybody has a share in this mess, but I still think it's the players -- and people getting the players -- are more to blame than Lindy.
"Let me tell you, this has nothing to do with the coach," Rivet said. "It has to do with the players performing."
--- Bucky Gleason