February 13, 1989 -- The Buffalo Sabres suddenly needed a captain on this day.
Lindy Ruff had had the job for more than two years, taking over for Gil Perreault when the superstar retired in November, 1986. But he resigned the position only three days after he was scratched during a game with the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was the first time that Ruff had missed a game since taking over the captaincy except for times when he was injured or suspended.
"I gave it back with no ifs, ands or buts," Ruff said after telling his teammates of the decision after a practice at Sabreland in Wheatfield. "This was totally my decision. Ted (Sator, the team's coach) said he wanted me to keep it (the "C") but my morals stood in the way. I don't feel they (the Sabres' management) forced me out. It was a case where they wanted me to play a limited role."
Ruff was said to not be a fan of Sator, and the benching was the another step in that direction. He went to the Rangers at the trading deadline later that season for a draft pick that was used on Richard Smehlik.
Who would have guessed that Ruff would return to the Sabres in 1998 as a head coach, and stay for more than a decade?
--- Budd Bailey