Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: lindy ruff
from Jeff Neiburg of the Philadelphia Daily News,
The village of Warburg, Alberta, is home to 789 people, according to Canadian census data from 2011. Just under 400 of them are men.
What are the odds, then, that two boys from that town grow up and one day coach against each other in the National Hockey League?
The math would show that it's, well . . . pretty improbable, all things considered.
"It's a coaching hotbed, Warburg," Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff said with a laugh after Tuesday's morning skate at Wells Fargo Center.
Flyers coach Dave Hakstol, 47, and Dallas' Ruff, 55, were raised on the rustic prairie land in central Alberta. Hockey was their way out of the area, which usually breeds generations of farmers and manual laborers.
“I don’t buy that on back-to-back games our energy was low, I’m tired of that one. Our effort wasn’t good enough. We got outworked, and I’m not buying any back-to-back crap. We just didn’t get enough out of a lot of guys, and it cost us.”
-Lindy Ruff, head coach of the Dallas Stars after a 5-2 loss to the Colorada Avalanche. More on the game from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News.
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
The Stars practiced in Frisco today, and then got on a plane and flew to Phoenix to get ready for Tuesday’s game against the Coyotes. Here’s Lindy Ruff with the media:
On goaltending.. We’ve had a tough time and I don’t think I can hide from that. I don’t think our goalies can hide from it. We’ve needed that big save. Sometimes it’s not even a big save. It’s a tough one that goes in that hurts your club. We’ve seen it where all of a sudden their goalie catches fire and it breathes a lot of confidence into the team too. I know our goalies can get it done.
I think Kari, it was a good rest for him. I think that he’s the guy that has to take the leadership and grab the ball and run and be ready to go with it. And it’ll start there because as soon as you get that confidence back there, then that one mistake you’re making isn’t something that’s going to hurt you.”
The Dallas Stars made the playoffs for the first time since 2008 by defeating the St. Louis Blues 3-0, bumping the Phoenix Coyotes out of the playoff mix and setting the set of 16 teams that will battle for the Stanley Cup starting next Wednesday, and after the game, DallasStars.com's Mark Stepneski reports that the Stars were nothing less than ecstatic about their achievement:
“It means a lot,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “Every kid dreams of playing in the playoffs and trying to win a Stanley Cup. I believe we’ve got a great group in here that can do some damage. We earned it tonight.”
The trip to the postseason is the first for the Stars since 2008, when they made it to the Western Conference Finals.
“It’s a great feeling,” said defenseman Trevor Daley, the only player still around from that 2008 playoff team. “We’ve been battling hard. We’ve been battling hard for a long time. “
Stars coach Lindy Ruff may have been the most excited person in the Stars' locker room, too:
You don't need to be a lip reader to understand what Ruff was saying after one ref called it a goal but was overruled by the other on-ice officials.
The action start at the :24 second mark.
The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons offers up his usual smorgasbord of Sunday observations, including an explanation as to what went wrong between himself and Brian Burke, but this paragraph's worth of thoughts stood out to me:
Question that wasn't asked after Carlyle admitted he was spotted in a Swiss Chalet in Parry Sound over the break: Did he order half-chicken or quarter-chicken? ... Not surprised that tickets for the outdoor game in Los Angeles between the Kings and Ducks aren't moving. Part of the charm of these over-hyped events is the back-to-roots element of the game. It's hardly back to roots when fans are wearing short-sleeved shirts at Dodger Stadium ... The Sunday assignment: Go through every NHL roster and make a list of defenceman you'd rather have than Phaneuf. It's not as easy you might think. I got to 15 and then started arguing with myself ... The new contract, when it's officially signed, will make Phaneuf the sixth-highest-paid defencemen in hockey, tied with Drew Doughty and Zdeno Chara. The top three paid defencemen in the NHL are Shea Weber, Ryan Suter and this year's Norris Trophy favourite, Duncan Keith ... Why Jamie Benn will be on Canada's Olympic team. His coach is Lindy Ruff. Ruff is one of Mike Babcock's assistants with Team Canada. All Ruff has to explain is what he sees every night with Benn
(Yes, Saturday's HBO's 24/7 episode basically revealed that Phaneuf and the Leafs have indeed agreed to a 7-year, $49 million contract extension)
You may most certainly read the rest; the Burke stuff really is fascinating.
Nice tribute to Lindy Ruff, who spent 16 years behind the Sabres' bench.
WGRZ is streaming the Ruff press conference, watch below...
from the Dallas Stars,
Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the team has hired Lindy Ruff as the 22nd head coach in franchise history and the seventh in Dallas Stars history.
The club will hold a press conference today (Friday, June 21) at American Airlines Center to introduce Ruff as head coach. It will take place at Noon in the interview room directly across from the Stars' dressing room with sandwiches and refreshments being served right after the press conference. Media may park at the AudiPark Garage and enter through the Administration Entrance (on the north side of the arena). Both Nill and Ruff will be at the press conference....
"One of the trademarks of successful organizations is their ability to have continuity and stability for an extended period of time," said Nill. "It is clear from Lindy's record, and from our own conversations, that we have found the right person to provide that stability and lead this club to the next level. His steady hand and experience will prove invaluable in returning our team as a top-tier contender in the NHL."
added 9:55am, Full press release is below...
via the Star Telegram,
The Dallas Stars are in the process of hiring Lindy Ruff as the team's next head coach, Stars' president Jim Lites said at a Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Thursday at the Colonial Country Club.
Lites said he shook Ruff's hand in Frisco as he walked to his car to head to Fort Worth, saying that barring any unforeseen circumstances, the Stars would sign Ruff.
from John Vogl of Sabres Edge at the Buffalo News,
Ruff saved his most emotional thanks for the fans as he fought tears through a cracking voice.
"Last and most importantly is our fans," said Ruff, who spent 26 of his 53 years as part of the Sabres. "The people who have made this place special for myself and my family.
"It's a place I call home and always will call home. Western New York is where I'm going to live."
Ruff has no immediate plans, though he wants to return to coaching.
"I miss it already," he said.
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
Lindy Ruff dreamed of holding the Stanley Cup in his adopted town of Buffalo. He pictured himself skating around Memorial Auditorium with the chalice over his head. He envisioned himself clutching the Cup on the bench in First Niagara Center.
He held onto the dream for half of his life. Now he has to let it go.
Ruff’s run in Blue and Gold came to an end Wednesday when the Sabres fired the longest-tenured coach in the NHL. Ruff, who turned 53 on Sunday, spent 26 years in the Sabres’ organization. He coached the team for the last 16 years and also played in Buffalo for a decade.
The lengthy, memorable ride came to its conclusion with the Sabres near the bottom of the league with a 6-10-1 record.
Watch below Ruff's last post-game conference after losing to Winnipeg 2-1 last night.
via the Sabres PR Department,
Buffalo Sabres Head Coach Lindy Ruff suffered three broken ribs following a collision with Sabres defenseman Jordan Leopold during the team’s practice this morning at First Niagara Center. He is expected to be back tomorrow to resume his coaching responsibilities.
More information is available at Sabres Edge.
Hockey Night In Canada’s Elliott Friedman reported on Tuesday that he was recently told that incoming Sabres owner Terry Pegula would like to keep both Darcy Regier and Lindy Ruff “going forward”. He mentioned it again in today’s piece about the Sabres scouting department.
I asked Paul Kukla if he could find out from the respected CBC commentator how he knew about this. Friedman’s response to Paul was that he heard of Pegula’s intentions from a “trusted source” at the Board of Governors meeting in Raleigh during the All-Star break.
Another person to keep in mind is former Penguins GM Craig Patrick. Friedman was told that Pegula is interested in bringing on the former Penguins GM in some capacity, perhaps initially in a senior advisory role with the long term goal of him eventually becoming president of the club.
Whether Ruff wants to return as coach, move up to the front office, or test the free agent market is anyone’s guess. After yesterday’s practice he simply stated that he wanted to win a Stanley Cup in Buffalo. Regier has two years remaining on his contract and told the media today that he expects to still have his job in Buffalo next season.
From Elliotte Friedman at CBC.ca:
While researching how different organizations approached scouting, several other teams ripped Buffalo’s approach. At the time, Golisano considered that self-serving, because those people stood to lose their jobs if “The Sabre Way” caught on. But, what interested me most was a common thread throughout many of those conversations. It went like this: “I’ll explain to you why video scouting is a bad idea. But, I’m not going to rip Darcy because he’s at the mercy of his owner.”
In the interview, Golisano didn’t exactly disprove that theory.
“These scouts are traveling all over the world. All these expenses, could they accomplish a lot more staying in one place with the use of video?” the owner said. “And they believe they can. If somebody interprets that as not being progressive and being regressive, that’s too bad. But we think we’re far more efficient and have a much better scouting organization than we did three years ago.”
Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, NHL Talk, NHL Business of Hockey, NHL Entry Draft, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, CBC HNIC, Non-NHL Hockey, Minor League, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: darcy+regier, lindy+ruff, sabres+sale, tom+golisano
Things just keep getting more interesting in Buffalo in the midst of the pending sale of the team.
From Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News,
In the wake of today’s news that GM Darcy Regier received a two-year contract extension in the fall, it was natural to ask Lindy Ruff if he received the same treatment.
Ruff pulled a shocker after Tuesday’s practice in HSBC Arena when he revealed he also got an extension offer and turned it down. Understandably, Ruff wasn’t all that interested in the line of questioning so his answers were pretty cryptic when pressed by The News on the issue.
click here for the interview.
via Mike Brophy of Sportsnet,
One of the most interesting potential free agents this summer could be Lindy Ruff. That’s right; if the Buffalo Sabres don’t sign their longtime coach to an extension, Ruff goes on the market and, depending on what happens with Dallas Stars centre Brad Richards who is likely to re-sign with his club, he could be the most sought-after free agent in the summer of 2011.
Ruff, like his GM Darcy Regier, has been forced to operate with one hand tied behind his back working for the cost-conscious Sabres. There are a number of teams that aren’t happy with their coaching and Ruff could write his own ticket if he is set free. In fact, he may even want to consider declining an offer from Buffalo just to test the market, figuring there are teams that would be willing to pay him more than he’d get from the Sabres. Should Ruff leave Buffalo, a solid candidate to replace him is former Sabre and current Anaheim Ducks assistant coach Mike Foligno.
You’ll have to forgive us in Buffalo for playing the “must win” card before every game for the next 3 ½ months, but that’s what happens when your team is practically staring into the face of a double-digit point deficit behind a playoff spot before Christmas.
Two weeks ago, the Sabres got a much needed home win against a San Jose Sharks team that had just scored an impressive win in Philadelphia the night before and was nearing the end of a grueling Eastern road trip.
A similar situation presents itself tonight, and the stakes are high again. The Anaheim Ducks won 3-0 in Boston last night, and 24 hours later the Sabres desperately need to prevent them from playing a successful encore. This game will be Anaheim’s fifth road gig in seven nights.
Aside from its own play, part of Buffalo’s problem in its playoff chase is the behavior of teams they have targeted ahead of them. If Atlanta, Tampa Bay and the New York Rangers aren’t for real then they all have a funny way of showing it. Those teams just refuse to come back to earth and Buffalo has lost ground to all of them, with a mediocre 5-4-1 record in its last 10 games.
Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff goes on a tirade during a power play drill. The Sabres are 26th in the NHL with a pp conversion rate of 12.8%. Thanks to WGRZ for the clip.
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.
In the Buffalo Sabres locker room, Patrick Lalime is looked up to as someone who is revered, admired, respected, and almost any other positive adjective you can come up with. That is, except for a pretty important one - successful.
Which is why it was somewhat surprising that so many people were questioning the decision, with Ryan Miller injured, to throw highly touted goaltending prospect Jhonas Enroth into the fire for this past Wednesday’s game against the Boston Bruins.
You can’t argue that the 2006 2nd round draft pick stunk up the joint that night. But what followed in Saturday’s 3-2 shootout win in Toronto - featuring Enroth stopping ex-Sabre Clarke MacArthur on a breakaway and stoning 4 of 5 Leafs in the shootout - was closer to what coach Lindy Ruff and GM Darcy Regier had envisioned for the 22-year old Swede, albeit a few days later than they would’ve liked.
What’s really comical about the criticism of playing Enroth is that many of these people are the same revisionist historians who bashed the Sabres for sending him down to the AHL in favor of Lalime in the first place.
Buffalo isn’t a city known for feeling a lot of heat in November, but don’t tell that to coach Lindy Ruff and his 30th place hockey team.
The longest tenured bench boss in the NHL is getting desperate, and his solutions for pulling his befuddled group of underachievers out of the ditch aren’t working. But it certainly hasn’t been for lack of trying.
He showed the captain a seat in the press box. He benched one of his leading scorers for almost an entire 3rd period with his team down one goal. He leapfrogged over his veteran backup goalie for a critical home game, with Ryan Miller injured, and started an AHL netminder with 1 game of NHL experience.
But the magic touch isn’t there. Buffalo is in danger of missing the playoffs for the third time in four years, and things are now seriously starting to unravel a bit.
Sabres fans that were booing Zdeno Chara and Daniel Alfredsson every time they touched the puck are now doing the same to Tim Connolly. Ruff’s post-game press conferences are getting testy to the point where you’re waiting for him to go Tortorella on someone.
How fitting that as we approach Halloween another soul is in the process of becoming an eternal resident of the Sabres haunted house of contentiously departed captains.
The Sabres blew an early 2-0 lead and lost 4-3 in overtime to the Atlanta Thrashers last night, but the big story in Buffalo is that Craig Rivet, who has worn the “C” since being elected by his teammates upon his arrival in 2008, was a healthy scratch for this game.
Granted, it won’t be as big an item on the hockey airwaves as an Ilya Kovalchuk benching. But in Buffalo, treatment of captains is kind of a sore subject. Just ask the man who made the decision, coach Lindy Ruff, who as a player in 1989 was benched and in turn relinquished his captaincy, effectively ending his time as a player in Buffalo.
With the excitement of the 40th anniversary ceremonies only to be followed by the Sabres losing a 2-1 snooze-fest to the Montreal Canadiens, you can see why many folks in Buffalo took the liberty of comparing last night’s game to the 3-0 loss to the Habs on 10/15/70.
But there’s a much more recent anniversary that you could say is more suitable for comparison.
It was six months ago this weekend that the Sabres were in the midst of a futile week-and-a-half-long attempt to scrape together some offense in a first round playoff series against the Boston Bruins - a team that for various reasons was supposed to have major goal scoring problems of their own.
There are some striking similarities between Buffalo’s poor playoff performance and the events of last night’s game - and for that matter of this young season. It’s a scary reminder that nothing in the past six months with this team seems to have really changed.
If the Buffalo Sabres are supposed to falter and fall short of once again being a major player in the Eastern Conference, someone forgot to tell head coach Lindy Ruff..
“Our goal here is to win the Stanley Cup,” Ruff told the local media this week. “We might as well talk about that - because I think our team, with the additions we’ve made and where we were at last year, should be able to challenge for it.”
Here is the latest from Sabres training camp:
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
Lindy Ruff’s wallet could be a few bucks lighter after he’s finished paying a fine for criticizing the officials, but you could understand his frustration after the game Wednesday. A terrible call in the third period shifted momentum to the Bruins and enabled them to crawl back from another two-goal deficit.
Cody McCormick was summoned by Buffalo from Portland to add some much-needed muscle and tenacity, and that’s exactly what he provided. He made a great play to set up Tim Kennedy for the first goal. And he was going hard to the net when he was taken off of his feet before slamming into Tuukka Rask, leading to goaltender interference.
Terrible call? Definitely.
Tough break? Yes.
Ruff had a legitimate beef and allowed his emotions to get the better of him, plain and simple.
continued and watch a portion of Ruff’s post game conference below…
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
Question: Considering that the Sabres missed the playoffs last season primarily because goaltender Ryan Miller was injured for a lengthy period, can we assume that having Miller healthy and performing at an elite level is key to the Sabres leading the Northeast?
Ruff: He has played very well, but I think the team has played very well in front of him. He can play aggressively in certain situations because of the confidence he has that he has protection around him. For us, it’s been a combination. We have played more solid defensively, and when we do break down, he has made key saves at the right time. That has given our team confidence.
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
Just before the season, Lindy Ruff pulled his leaders aside and told them they needed to take over the Buffalo Sabres’ dressing room. He made it clear that he was finished barking after every poor performance. This was their team, he told them, and taking ownership was their responsibility.
It was as if Ruff recognized that his style had grown stale, that he knew adjustments were required if his team was going to go anywhere. He has said numerous times this season that the Sabres’ core is no longer a bunch of kids. They’re pros who know what’s needed to win and should be treated accordingly.
Ruff hasn’t undergone a total makeover, but the shift in his approach has been obvious all year. The little things don’t seem to bother him as much as they did in past seasons. He’s been quick to compliment his players in practice. He’s giving them more leeway rather than stand over them with a firm hand.
Tom Golisano and Larry Quinn today announced that General Manager Darcy Regier and head coach Lindy Ruff will return next season in their current roles with the organization. Ownership is very excited to have these two individuals return to help lead the organization back to the playoffs next season.
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
You can’t help but wonder if Regier and Ruff are inching closer to the door with every loss the Sabres suffer down the stretch. Something needs to give. That much was obvious after watching the Sabres mope through the final 25 minutes Friday night in a 6-4 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.
Have the players quit on their coach?...
Regier has two seasons remaining on his contract. Ruff is signed through next season. They are the longest-tenured GM-coach combination in the NHL. Quinn reiterated Friday night that his first instinct is to keep both, but he wanted to wait until the offseason. He’ll huddle with Golisano before making a final decision.
from the CP via the Sporting News,
Lindy Ruff figures there’s no way to put together this kind of streak without a little good fortune.
As the longest-tenured man in a volatile profession, the Buffalo Sabres coach doesn’t get surprised when he hears that another member of the fraternity has lost his job. It’s something he’s seen happen time and again.
There have been 137 coaching changes in the NHL since Ruff was hired by the Sabres in July 1997, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. While that number alone is staggering, consider the anecdotal evidence - Craig Hartsburg has now lost three NHL head coaching jobs over that period.
All the while, Ruff keeps plugging away with the Sabres.
from Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News,
Lindy Ruff did not go to Yale. He never attended any college. But Ruff is one of the smartest and most intuitive coaches I’ve known, a man with a knack for pushing hockey players’ buttons and getting them to perform at a higher competitive level.
Ruff has been coaching the Sabres for 12 seasons. He is by far the longest-tenured coach in the NHL. He’s never been shy about speaking his mind. But the more secure he gets in his job, the more willing he is to single out players for soft or substandard performance.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a star. Slack off and Ruff will cut your minutes. He’ll bench you. He’ll call you out in public.
Somehow, it works.
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
Ruff laughed Friday at the suggestion that his words have grown stale with a team that has been largely intact since the beginning of last season. He shrugged it off as a product of losing. In fact, he has tried everything. He has pushed and pulled back. He’s gone soft and been tough. And now he’s removing all wiggle room.
“It’s not my job to look the other way,” Ruff said Friday after his team prepared for today’s matinee in Boston. “I’m not the type of guy that wants to embarrass people, but I am going to be tough. It’s going to be, ‘You’ve got to play this way, or you won’t be able to play.’ We’ll either take off and go, and everybody gets hunkered in, or you’ll keep waddling until we have to destroy a couple pieces.”
Translation: Ruff’s way or the highway.
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff after the Sabres 4-2 loss to the Capitals last night….
“We did a great job of making their goaltender look good. We missed, by my count, four wide-open nets. [Drew Stafford] missed a wide-open net, missed two of them. [Jaroslav] Spacek missed a wide-open net. [Jason Pominville], wide-open net. But when you haven’t been going good, you don’t get breaks.”
-Sabres coach Lindy Ruff after losing their 4th game in a row. More on the game from John Vogl of the Buffalo News.
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
As with most Ruff-coached teams, the concentration will be on solid defensive play. But Ruff doesn’t want the phrase “defense first” to scare anyone. The Sabres were fourth in the league in scoring last year and led the NHL the year before, so he knows he has to let his firepower flame.
“I didn’t like our play away from the puck, and that’s going to be an area of focus through camp,” Ruff said. “We want that area stronger, and at the same time still play the style that’s made us successful. I don’t think we want to get away from that.
“I think that can be done, but that’s going to take a little more commitment from different individuals on this team.”
On today’s NHL conference call for the media, the guests were Buffalo Sabres’ coach, Lindy Ruff, and Nashville Predators’ coach Barry Trotz. The coaches were invited to help preview the semifinal round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Here is the transcript from the Q&A.
Q. I wanted to ask you both, if you were to make a pick here of the final four teams in each conference, why wouldn’t you pick the team that did best against your own team? For instance, Buffalo did well against Montreal and Philly but 0-4 against both Pittsburgh and the Rangers. Nashville did well against Detroit and Colorado but 0-4 against San Jose, and 3-1 against Dallas.
Today, the NHL hosted a teleconference call for the media to ask questions of Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff and Columbus Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock.
Here is the transcript of that Q&A.
Q. The emphasis has been in the west all year now. Now the popular belief is whoever comes out of the west is going to be the Stanley Cup champion. Do you have that sense, as well?
KEN HITCHCOCK: No, I don’t. I think one of the problems is when you have so many good teams that what’s left of your team at the end of the three series that you have to play in sometimes isn’t much. I think a lot of it depends on the damage that gets done in some of these series.
I think when you look at the competitiveness of the teams and the closeness of really almost all eight teams in the playoffs, you know, I think health is going to be a major issue on whoever comes out from this series because it has the makings, especially in these early rounds, of some really long series here.
From John Vogl at The Buffalo News,
The Buffalo Sabres’ coach could face his toughest decision of the season Wednesday when his suddenly impressive team returns to the ice to face Tampa Bay. The Sabres have won two in a row and, at times, looked dominating doing it. All four forward lines were solid, with a player from each scoring Saturday during a 6-2 victory over Toronto.
But once again, Connolly could become a factor. The oft-injured center might be healthy enough to play against the Lightning. He sat out the three games last week, and the team has three days between games this week. That might be enough time for Connolly’s sore hip to get enough rest.
So, what’s a coach to do? Does he stick with the same lineup, reward the 12 forwards who spent the weekend playing well? Or does he risk disruption by inserting Connolly, one of his finest all-around players and a guy who can make a difference when healthy?
more... with Sabres one point out of 8th in the East
from the Buffalo News,
As Lundqvist made the save, however, Rangers veteran Brendan Shanahan cross-checked Clarke MacArthur into the goalpost. That dislodged the net and caused a faceoff. It also raised the ire of Sabres coach Lindy Ruff.
“There should probably be a suspension on that last play,” Ruff said after the 2-1 loss in Madison Square Garden. “The league definitely has to look at it. That was a definite intent to try to hurt somebody. He could have a broken neck, he could have a broken shoulder, he could have a broken back, he could have a number of things….”
“It was harder than I would have wanted,” said Shanahan. “It certainly warranted a penalty. I’m glad the kid didn’t get hurt….”
Watch the video…
from the Buffalo News,
Maxim Afinogenov has just three goals on the season, none in the last five games. He keeps giving away the puck, as his team-worst minus-9 rating shows.
When yet another giveaway led to the Boston Bruins’ first goal Saturday night, Afinogenov found a seat on the bench for most of the third period of the Buffalo Sabres’ 2-1 loss at TD Banknorth Garden.
from the Buffalo News,
This isn’t the NHL. It’s the English Premier League.
The upgraded style of play that resulted from the lockout has been victimized by strategy. Coaches adjusted to the rule changes intended to promote skill and skating. Defense reemerged as the great equalizer for offensively challenged franchises. Nowadays NHL players are always in the zone, be it a 2-3, a 1-4 or variations thereof. The game can’t breathe.
“Zone defense right now, I would put it under the label of killing the game,” Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said Thursday. And he plays it.
from the Buffalo News,
The Sabres still have talent but five of a kind has become genuinely unkind this season. They have been stifled by their own play and not-so-subtle changes in a league that has returned to tight checking and close quarters. Teams are intent on buckling down on defense and exploiting teams relying too much on skating alone.
“The message is there,” Ruff said after practice Tuesday. “You watched the playoffs. You saw how tight it got, and the scoring chances got fewer and fewer. Coaches are pretty good at looking at video and wondering what’s going on and [experimenting]. There is a little bit of a trend developing.”
From Mike Zeisberger at the Toronto Sun,
And he would like nothing better than to be part of the Canadian contingent that is seeking to repeat the championship effort turned in by Joe Sakic and company back in 2002 in Salt Lake City.
“It actually crossed my mind when I was watching Team Canada at the 2006 Games in Turin,” Ruff said yesterday. “I just thought to myself that it would be nice to be involved. It’s a tremendous honour just to be considered in any capacity.”
Ruff’s name already has been discussed by Hockey Canada officials, joining a list of candidates that includes New Jersey Devils coach Brent Sutter, St. Louis Blues coach Andy Murray, the Detroit Red Wings’ Mike Babcock, Stanley Cup-winning coach Randy Carlyle of the Anaheim Ducks and the Phoenix Coyotes’ Wayne Gretzky.