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Pretty Ruff on Lindy

Wow, my colleague Mike Harrington gave it pretty good to Lindy Ruff in his blog post after the Thrashers game the other night. I've always held Ruff in high regard, but maybe it's time I took the coach to task for the Sabres' erratic and soft play this season. The team reflects its head coach. If I can make that point about Dick Jauron, there's no reason Ruff should be immune. His team hasn't played with consistent passion and intelligence this season. It doesn't have a physical identity and has been maddeningly mediocre against the bottom-feeders in the NHL.

I still think Darcy Regier is ultimately to blame for the Sabres' makeup. He's the GM and it's his job to put the product on the ice. I certainly think the team reflects his fondness for finesse players -- in a league where toughness and grit win in the playoffs. But this is Ruff's team, too. He has a lot of power in the organization. If Ruff didn't like the players he was given, he should have stood up to management and resigned by now. Maybe he's simply gotten too comfortable in one place. There have been more than 130 coaching changes since Lindy got the Buffalo job. All these teams can't be mistaken about the periodic need for change at the head coach position.

Ruff has been a little wishy-washy at times this season. He criticized Ryan Miller for letting in a goal against Florida, then backed down when Miller showed his dismay to the media. Ruff even froze out John Vogl for awhile because of it. Then, the night Scott Gomez hurt Miller, Ruff said he thought it was intentional. He backed off on that, too. He seemed to be giving his team a pass for failing to protect the goalies this season. I'm wondering if Ruff has reached the point where he doesn't know what buttons to push with this bunch. If both Ruff and Regier are safe even if they miss the playoffs again -- as Bucky Gleason suggested on Sunday -- the standard really has been lowered for this team.

Oh, I forgot. They're a team in transition. Transition to what?

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