DALLAS -- Lindy Ruff's hat and address are different, but some things never change. The Dallas coach and longtime Sabres bench boss is going for a milestone but claims he had no idea.
Ruff enters tonight's game against the Sabres with a record of 599-454-172 in 1,225 games as an NHL coach. With a win against streaking Buffalo, he'll hit No. 600.
"I hadn’t done the research," Ruff said in American Airlines Center. "I just want to win. I don’t care if it’s 550, 420, 601. We’re in one hell of a battle, and the two points is really important for us."
The Stars hold a wild-card spot in the tough Western Conference, and Ruff wants to stay there with a win against his old team. Buffalo has won three straight for the first time all season.
"I think from watching them play they’ve got a pretty loose group," Ruff said. "They’re making plays. They’re scoring some goals. They’ve had good goaltending, and we don’t want to be another victim of that."
Ruff spent a relatively calm decade and a half in Buffalo, but things have been anything but calm lately with the front-office and on-ice changes.
"It’s been a little bit of craziness, but I have no time to sit and ponder what’s going on," Ruff said. "I have to make sure that my team is ready."
Lindy Ruff lasted 16 years as the Sabres' head coach, all of them spent under GM Darcy Regier. Ruff's good friend gave him the news in February his time here was up and Regier himself got that news late last night from owner Terry Pegula. So did Ruff's replacement, Ron Rolston.
The Sabres played a video tribute to team legend Lindy Ruff on the
scoreboard tonight during his return, a highlight-filled package that started with a goal and his fight
with New York Islanders goaltender Billy Smith.
Tyler Seguin hoists the Stanley Cup in his hometown of Brampton, Ont., in 2011 (Getty Images)
By Mike Harrington
Old friend Lindy Ruff certainly felt like his new team acquired a No. 1 center for many years Friday when the Dallas Stars landed Tyler Seguin in a seven-player deal with the Boston Bruins. But, as the playoffs went on, Seguin's poor play in Boston was surrounded by murmurs of his party animal lifestyle and that was chronicled in this Boston Herald story.
Seguin's mother ripped the Bruins in a Toronto Star story last week, saying the team leaked some of the information to discredit Seguin. One problem? Dad admitted to the Star that kiddo is in fact prone to party.
All this can't sit well with Ruff and especially new Stars GM Jim Nill, who just sent valuable veteran Loui Eriksson to Boston as the key piece for Seguin. According to Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News, Nill said today that Seguin is scheduled in Dallas on Monday and they will be having a heart-to-heart about social media and other things off the ice.
"My problem with social media is you just don’t know how much of it is true,” Nill said. “I think, as a society, we are trained to believe 100 percent of it is true, and that’s obviously not the case. It’s difficult to validate how things might happen, whether someone was truly hacked, or just what might have happened. I can’t go off hearsay, I need to ask questions.”
Nill will ask plenty Monday and the Dallas media is scheduled to ask Seguin some more Tuesday. That figures to be interesting.
When Dallas General Manager Jim Nill began interviews for the Stars’ vacant coaching job, the first call went to Lindy Ruff.
“I said to Jim when I first agreed to meet with him, ‘I’ll meet with you, but we can’t meet in the crease,’” Ruff said Friday.
The history between Ruff and the team that earned a controversial Stanley Cup victory over him in 1999 is unavoidable. Ruff also can’t hide his passion to coach. The present took precedence over the past as Ruff has agreed to become the Stars’ bench boss.
The Dallas Stars have officially named Lindy Ruff as their next head coach, following up on statements made Thursday by President Jim Lites that a deal was imminent. The Stars and General Manager Jim Nill will introduce Ruff at a 1 p.m. news conference.
“I am honored to be joining the Dallas Stars organization,” Ruff said in a statement released this morning. “After speaking at length with Jim Nill, it was clear that all the right pieces are coming together to return this club to the upper-echelon of the NHL. I look forward to leading its resurgence.”
Said Nill: “One of the trademarks of successful organizations is their ability to have continuity and stability for an extended period of time. It is clear from Lindy’s record, and from our own conversations, that we have found the right person to provide that stability and lead this club to the next level. His steady hand and experience will prove invaluable in returning our team as a top-tier contender in the NHL.”
Former Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, who suffered one of his most bitter defeats at the hands of the Dallas Stars in the 1999 Stanley Cup finals, is set to become the Stars' next coach, according to a report out of Texas.
"We respect Lindy a lot. I think he would be a great fit for us. I don't think the deal is done, but it would be a good thing for the Dallas Stars if he is hired,” Stars President Jim Lites told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I don't think there is anything standing in the way of it other than getting Jim and Lindy together on money."
The Sabres fired Ruff in February in his 16th season as head coach.
"If he's happy, I'm very happy for him," Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier said.
Lindy Ruff has begun looking toward his next job – the New York Rangers are reportedly the latest to give him a call – but he’ll remain a Western New Yorker. In fact, he still carries the same dream for Buffalo as when he represented the Sabres.
“There’s one thing missing from my playing career and my coaching career,” Ruff said tonight. “I have no regrets on my playing career. I have no regrets on my coaching career, but there is one thing I want to see Buffalo have one day and that’s the Stanley Cup.”
The Sabres fired Ruff as their coach in February, but his ties to the community remain strong. The Clarence Chamber of Commerce honored him as its inaugural Sportsman of the Year during a ceremony at Westwood Country Club, and the Clarence resident received handshakes, laughs and applause from his neighbors in the Northtowns.
“I owe a lot to the City of Buffalo, to the community of Clarence,” Ruff said. “My kids all grew up and were raised here, went through school. Not many coaches can say their kids went to one school.
“I don’t have any plans of moving. I might have to relocate short term for a while, but home will always be Clarence.”
It’s possible the relocation could be downstate. The Sabres, who still have Ruff under contract, have granted the Rangers permission to speak with the 53-year-old about their coaching vacancy, according to multiple reports.
Ruff declined an interview request.
Ruff was scheduled to play in a golf tournament that accompanied his award banquet, but he canceled to take care of important phone calls, according to an event organizer. He has already interviewed for the Dallas Stars’ coaching job, and he has been linked to the opening in Vancouver, too.
Lindy Ruff and the New York Rangers reportedly have permission to talk with one another. The former Sabres coach was scheduled to talk to someone important today.
Ruff is being honored by the Clarence Chamber of Commerce as its inaugural "Sportsman of the Year," but he skipped the accompanying golf tournament this afternoon because he had important phone calls scheduled, an event representative said. He is expected to attend the award ceremony this evening.
The New York Rangers, who have a coaching vacancy, sought and received permission from the Sabres to interview Ruff, ESPN.com wrote today while confirming a "Hockey Night in Canada" report from the weekend. Ruff is still being paid by the Sabres, who relieved him from his coaching duties in February.
When Vancouver axed Alain Vigneault last week, the gambling website Bovada.lv installed Ruff as the favorite to replace him. The Rangers fired coach John Tortorella on Wednesday, and once again Bovada is looking at the former Sabres coach to step behind the bench.
Here are the odds, with our usual disclaimer: Gambling is bad. Your money is much better spent on whiskey, women and concerts.
Updates from the IIHF World Championships in Sweden and Finland:
Thomas Vanek has team-highs of three goals and 20 shots on goal for Austria. The Aussies beat Slovakia in a shootout, with Vanek scoring the decisive goal. Christian Ehrhoff has been the workhorse for Germany, averaging 29:31 per game, while Andrej Sekera has done likewise for Slovakia at 24:55. Jhonas Enroth has a 1.76 goals-against average in the nets for Sweden.
In the standings -- go to the bottom of the page at this link -- Lindy Ruff-coached Team Canada has the tourney's best record at 4-0-1 for 13 points (losing only to Switzerland in a shootout). Finland leads the other group with 11 points. Team USA has nine points, tied with Russia and two behind the Finns.
Meanwhile, Rochester Amerks center Zemgus Girgensons, the Sabres' second first-round pick last June, has been suspended for one game for a butt-ending violation and will miss Latvia's game Saturday against Germany. The incident occurred during Thursday's 5-3 win over Slovakia.
I did some number-crunching today on the Sabres' stats under Lindy Ruff and the comparable numbers under Ron Rolston and found no real dramatic changes. A bad hockey team under the old coach was still a pretty bad hockey team at times under the new one.
Games were a little tighter under Rolston, who seemed to pull back on some of Ruff's four-in-the-zone rushes with defenseman pinching up. Buffalo's goals-for dropped a little but it's goals-against came down by more than half a goal under Rolston, so that was good.
The Sabres simply didn't have the puck enough by any measure, whether you're looking at traditional stats, new-wave analytics or the basic eye test that resulted in fan boos. Opponents average 33.5 shots per game against Ruff's Sabres and 33.5 shots per game against Rolston's. Odd. The Sabres were last in the league in shots against.
BOSTON -- Lindy Ruff is getting back behind the bench.
Hockey Canada has named the former Sabres coach as its bench boss for the world championships to be held May 3-19 in Finland and Sweden. Tampa Bay General Manager Steve Yzerman will be the executive director, while Doug Shedden will be Ruff's assistant coach.
Ruff, fired in February during his 16th year in Buffalo, coached Canada's 2009 world championship team to a silver medal. He was a gold medal-winning assistant at the 2010 Olympic Games.
The players will be chosen later and usually consist of NHL stars whose clubs failed to make the playoffs. The Sabres are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference.
TAMPA, Fla. -- No changes for the Sabres tonight as Ryan Miller will be in goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning, while Andrej Sekera (injured) and the tandem of John Scott and Drew Stafford (healthy) will be the scratches. Interim coach Ron Rolston said Sekera could play Thursday at Florida.
Big changes, of course, with Tampa as AHL coach Jon Cooper has been hired to replace Guy Boucher but will make his debut Friday night. Assistants will run the Lightning again tonight as they did Sunday in Winnipeg.
Tampa GM Steve Yzerman met with the media today to discuss the coaching change but didn't give a whole lot of clarity into the situation when I asked him about the possibility of hiring Lindy Ruff.
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Lightning have officially confirmed the multiple reports on Twitter from CBC, TSN and Sportsnet among others say that revealed Jon Cooper is getting promoted from Syracuse of the AHL to become the team's new head coach. So no Lindy Ruff.
Cooper ran the Crunch practice today and will make his Tampa Bay debut here Friday night against New Jersey. Assistants Dan Lacroix and Steve Thomas will run the team Tuesday against the Sabres; Martin Raymond was on the staff as well but has been sent to Syracuse to work under new Crunch coach Rob Zettler.
Click here for my story on the Sabres' thoughts on Ruff showing up on the Tampa bench or, for that matter, any other. And interim coach Ron Rolston has some thoughts on Cooper, his former AHL rival.
TAMPA, Fla. -- No, Lindy Ruff is not in the building. At least not yet as far as anyone knows. All is pretty quiet around Lightning Land because the team -- and General Manager Steve Yzerman -- was on a 10 a.m. flight back from Winnipeg and is not scheduled to practice today in the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
But folks who cover the Lightning are on high alert for some decision about the team's coaching situation today. Yzerman could hire Ruff or AHL coach Jon Cooper or simply stick with assistants Dan Lacroix, Martin Raymond and Steve Thomas running the bench like they did for Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Jets. You wonder if that might happen for tomorrow since the next game isn't until New Jersey is here Friday and that would give a new coach some practice time.
The Sabres, of course, have their curiosity piqued about potentially seeing Ruff tomorrow. Among the thoughts during a quick circle of the locker room after practice today:
Steve Yzerman sounds like he knows who he wants behind the Tampa Bay Lightning's bench. He's still trying to make it happen.
Yzerman, the vice president and general manager of the Lightning, fired coach Guy Boucher this morning. He met with media in Winnipeg, where Tampa plays tonight, to discuss the coaching search. The leading candidates are former Sabres coach Lindy Ruff and Jon Cooper, who coaches the Lightning's minor-league club and won the AHL title last year.
"I will tell you I’m hopeful that I can get something in place as quickly
as possible, and I’m not looking to drag things out," Yzerman said. "I have an idea of
what I want to do and a plan for what I want to do, and I’m trying to
get that accomplished as soon as possible."
John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.
Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.
Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.