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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Lindy Ruff

(Born on February 17, 1960) - Second-round draft choices in hockey make an impact only some of the time. It’s fair to say Lindy Ruff more than met that standard.

Ruff was born in Warburg, Alberta, and played junior hockey in the Western Hockey League. The Sabres took Mike Ramsey in the first round of the 1979 Entry Draft and Ruff in the second.

Lindy stayed through the 1988-89 season, becoming a captain along the way. Ruff spent some time as a wing and some time as a defenseman; the versatility probably kept him in the league for some extra time. He had 20 goals in 1985-86.

Ruff was eventually traded to the Rangers, and moved into coaching after retiring as a player. He was put in a difficult situation in 1997 when he was hired to replace Ted Nolan, a fan favorite. The new coach did the best job he could, and found a home here ... again.

Ruff is the longest-tenured coach in the NHL at the moment, and he’s coached more games than any Sabre coach in history. Ruff also wouldn’t mind a return to the Stanley Cup finals, something he did in 1999.

--- Budd Bailey


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