Kukla's Korner Hockey
by @DaveDavisHockey on 11/10/10 at 02:57 PM ET
It seems like only yesterday that the hiring of 37-year old Florida Panthers assistant coach Lindy Ruff to take the helm of the Sabres was stirring an already boiling pot in Buffalo.
It was July 1997. Management had been going through a dysfunctional phase. Fans were furious that the team had just cut ties with a beloved figure named Ted Nolan. The widow of the franchise’s founder was seen on the news protesting with mobs of fans in front of HSBC Arena.
Then, just when nerves needed to be calmed with some assurance that things would be alright, the Sabres and their new coach got off to a rip roaring start by winning 7 of their first 25 games. Ruff was convinced he’d be gone by Christmas.
Fast forward to 13 years later - past goaltending controversies, No Goal, criminal ownership, franchise bankruptcy, and free agency nightmares - and incredibly he’s still here.
And tonight in New Jersey, Ruff will become the first NHL bench boss ever to coach his first 1000 games with the same team.
Jhonas Enroth will get the start in goal, as Ryan Miller is still not 100% and Patrick Lalime is battling what doctors believe may be appendicitis. Johan Hedberg will be in the nets for the Devils, who are the only team besides Buffalo without a home win this season.
Edit 3:24 pm: Lalime does not have appendicitis, is feeling better, and will back up Enroth tonight. Miller did travel with the team.
* * * * * * *
Here’s a small sampling of responses to a just-for-fun question posted on twitter yesterday. Some were good and some were… well you be the judge.
“The L.A. Kings wore mullets at practice for Ryan Smyth’s 1000th game. For Lindy Ruff coaching his 1000th, the Sabres at practice should ____________”.
@RidingWithJG: “Rock the Ruff-Stache.”
@manda903: “Dye their hair yellow.”
@twoeightnine: “Work on the power play.”
@HockeySense_ca: “Give him a hug and tell him everything will be OK.”
@TimothyCarl: “Wear terrible suits.”
@rammer88: “Vote someone off the island.”
@PacerJF: “Show up in Brett Hull jerseys.”
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