The Fired Lindy Ruff Post I Thought Was Years Away

I haven’t been shy about saying I don’t think firing Lindy Ruff was a necessity (then again, I also thought there was a chance the Sabres could very good this short season). I totally understand the move and think it can be an impetus for the organization to move in a better direction, but I certainly don’t think it was Option No. 1. It happened. Your team can’t be one of the exceptions to the dime-a-dozen coaches mentality when your team is brutal. Time to move on.

Ron Rolston is the easiest way to try to salvage this season. The Amerks power play is No. 3 in the American League and his system is very similar to the one Lindy Ruff has employed for the past few years. Perhaps him telling Cody Hodgson what to do in his own zone will embed itself in the young centerman. Probably, actually; he’s young and “get the slot guy” isn’t a revolutionary concept.

If Rolston cannot push all the right buttons and this team misses the postseason — he certainly has a favorable stretch here to give it a go — it will be unfair to judge him as a head coach (much like Randy Cunneyworth in Montreal last year).

Why? Cause this team simply doesn’t have a good mesh of skill and experience. They needed Mikhail Grigorenko to be outstanding immediately. He hasn’t been. They needed Drew Stafford and Marcus Foligno to score. They haven’t. They needed Ryan Miller to be Vezina-worthy, Tyler Myers to return to form and the power play to be Arnelian. Nope-nope-nopity-nope.

Frankly, they could use the trip to the bottom they won’t get (barring a lottery miracle). Why? For the same reason those four first-round picks Edmonton dangled for Thomas Vanek wouldn’t have Top Five picks. Vanek, Pominville, Ehrhoff and Miller will be responsible for enough wins to keep playoff math alive well into April. Ennis has quietly been a line saver as well.

Plus:

1) Florida has no goaltending and their best offensive threat is 19.

2) Winnipeg is in better shape than the Sabres, but still dealing with the travel schedule of a Western team in the Eastern Conference.

3) Remember the nothing Columbus got in exchange for Rick Nash? It’s still nothing.

The move was more business-related than hockey. Buffalo’s media and fans were far more done with Ruff than the players. Think that’s nuts? Remember Sunday when they worked their cups off against the Penguins and everyone said, “Man, they were so close except for that Crosby fella” (See: hitting bottom)?

There’s a sentimental attachment between Ruff and this community. He’s the best coach not named Scotty Bowman to stand behind the Sabres bench and he’s going to see his name in the rafters of First Niagara Center at some point. After Dominik Hasek and Gilbert Perreault, he’s arguably the name most synonymous with the Buffalo Sabres. Even his detractors would admit Ruff being the coach to lead the Sabres to the Stanley Cup would fit the club.

But he won’t. It’s likely he gets a Cup before the Sabres (he’ll have his choice of openings). Heck, as I posted this afternoon, I half-expect the Flyers to fire Peter Laviolette so we can watch the Briere/Ruff combo bring Philly to Cup glory.

Email: nick@fcbuffalo.org

5 Responses to The Fired Lindy Ruff Post I Thought Was Years Away

  1. Hank says:

    Buffalo is unique as there is no accountability here. Finally Terry swallowed his pride and admitted (so to speak) that his beloved Lindy wasn’t the answer. Let’s stop the “feel good mentality”. In the real world its “what have you done for me lately”, you produce and work or are gone. Sadly though this team has more problems than you want to admit. Regeir has been just as much the problem, falling in love with players, fear, hanging on to players who underachieve. Along with Ruff, look to Miller, Vanek, Pommers as players who should be gone for top prospects, picks. Go young. Make the full purge. Being bad and getting top picks isn’t so bad, Ask Chicago!

  2. ROBROE says:

    Cant win a game if you cant win a faceoff. I have played enough NHL13 on xbox to get frustrated to shit all with the sabres this year. i cant even win a faceoff on a video game. last night you got codey/ennis/whothefuckever taking a faceoff with 8 seconds to go, goalie pulled, next to the Jets net AND YOU KNEW THE GAME WAS OVER BECAUSE NEITHER CAN WIN A FACEOFF. they cant win a faceoff when the game counts, they cant win a faceoff when the game doesn’t count. you cant win a game if you don’t have the puck. simple. GOOSE needs to retire after this season, come back to town and Pegula needs to throw a TRUCKFUCKLOAD OF MONEY at him to teach these kids how to do it. goose got so good at faceoffs he taught himself how to do it the opposite way. THATS WHERE YOU START. GIVE GOOSE MORE MONEY THAN WHAT EVER COACH YOU PLAN ON BRING UP FROM THE FARM THAT IS JUST GOING TO TEACH LINDY’S SYSTEM ANYWAY. at least when the bills got rid of Gailey, they got rid of his whole damn staff. why on earth would you bring someone in that teaches lindy’s system to the kids so they know what lindy is talking about when they get up to the NHL when Lindy cant get his own players to play? Either that or go get Rickey Henderson to coach. PAY RICKEY.

  3. Leelee Phoenix says:

    They needed Thomas Vanek to be the first league-leading scorer Lindy Ruff ever had… oh.

    Miller and Pominville aren’t getting anything close to top picks in a trade. Vanek might, but that would be kookoobananas. Good luck ever getting an elite scorer into Buffalo again if you dump him now.

    I agree that the best thing for the Sabres would be to bottom out. Like you said in the Grigorenko post, you need to get really lucky to find a quality scorer beyond drafting in the Top 3. The draft is pure socialism (except for the lottery), you need to be worthless scum in order to be given stuff. Why can’t Buffalo sports teams ever be the worst in my lifetime.

  4. ST says:

    Today I have more respect for Terry Pegula as the Sabre’s owner than I did yesterday. The fact that he made this hard (and for him even heartbreaking) decision is encouraging. For if he’s willing to make *this* move, then he is willing to make *any* move. He did what had to be done; and not just because the media said so. It was time.

    All breakups are difficult, especially when it’s a long term relationship. But when the atmosphere becomes unproductive, or even toxic, then it is to the mutual benefit of both, to go their separate ways. Whether this season’s hockey team is better or worse remains to be seen. But I do believe that right now…

    The Buffalo Sabres are healthier, after this breakup.

    Now, as far as I’m concerned, Darcy could have got the boot today, as well. Clean house. However, at least now we shall see how good/bad Darcy really is at his job, without Lindy. Just as Lindy will be able to prove himself, without Darcy, if/when he becomes a head coach again.

    I wish Lindy Ruff well. He’s a good hockey man, and in his heart he will always be a Buffalo guy. I will graciously applaud when Pegula raises him to the rafters.

  5. Leelee Phoenix says:

    The Sabres lost another game. FIRE EVERYBODY