The relationship between players and assistant coaches is more relaxed than the one between players and the head coach, so obviously Rob Niedermayer got along with Lindy Ruff when the latter was an assistant in Florida and Niedermayer was one of his players.
After signing a one-year, $1.15 million contract with Buffalo, Niedermayer is back in front of Ruff's bench, though this time Ruff is the main boss.
"I know it’s different when you’re a head coach, but just from watching from the outside I know he’s had a lot of successful teams there," Niedermayer told The News by phone.
Ruff and Niedermayer chatted before the center signed with the Sabres.
"It just seemed to be a good fit for me," Niedermayer said. "Lindy was great. He answered all my questions, so I felt very comfortable with the decision.
"The last few years, my role has been as a checker and someone who’s been responsible defensively. That’s something I don’t think will change. Just be maybe someone who can lead by example, just try and fit in with the team. They had a great year last year, and hopefully we can build on that."