The Sabres Observer
Courtesy of WKBW-TV in Buffalo, here is video of Lindy Ruff's farewell press conference today:
One of my favorite Lindy Ruff clips, and a childhood memory of mine from when he was a player. Ruff attacks Islanders goaltender Billy Smith after being highsticked during Game 6 of the 1980 Semifinals.
"The hockey world knows how I and the entire Buffalo Sabres organization feel about Lindy Ruff not only as a coach but also as a person. His long tenure with the Sabres has ended. His qualities have made this decision very difficult. I personally want Lindy to know that he can consider me a friend always."
The Buffalo Sabres have announced that Lindy Ruff has been relieved of his duties. More to follow.
From Luke Fox of Sportsnet.ca,
I know Lindy Ruff is a great hockey coach, and he has been a great hockey coach for the Buffalo Sabres for a long time, but it’s stalling again. And it’s not working,” Roenick said. “It’s time for a coaching change. I don’t know if the players think so, but the record shows it.”
Buffalo isn’t a city known for feeling a lot of heat in February, but don’t tell that to Lindy Ruff and his 27th place hockey team.
I’ve spent much of my hockey time, over the past 16 years actually, defending Ruff as the right man to coach this team. But with each passing season of failure, each half-hearted effort on the ice, the hope tank has slowly been leaking.
For many, it’s now empty. One by one, some of Ruff’s most ardent supporters - fans, writers, talk show hosts, older folks who grew up watching him give his heart as a player, are raising the white flag. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard sentences beginning with “I think Ruff is a good coach, but…”
No matter how much people like and respect Ruff, and how highly they think of his abilities, everyone has a breaking point.
I confess that I’ve finally reached mine.
From Dan Dakin of the St. Catharines Standard,
Though Crosby typically never meets fans before a game – especially an afternoon game – he read Rowan's story and wanted to meet him. There wasn't enough time for a post-game meeting, so he made an exception and spent 10 minutes with the family Sunday morning at First Niagara Center in Buffalo.
Are you a frustrated Sabres fan? Tired of wasting time by the water cooler arguing about Thomas Vanek's ice time or Tyler Ennis' lack of faceoff proficiency? Want to look hockey-smart in front of your friends and co-workers? Approach them with this ice-cold nugget of trivia:
What are the Buffalo Sabres currently doing, from February 1st to April 8th, for the third straight year?
The Sabres look worse than a 5-7-1 team, and head coach Lindy Ruff is getting more heat from fans and media in Buffalo than he ever has since taking the job 16 years and 4 presidential elections ago. The hearty discussion here is not only about if Ruff should be replaced, but also if owner Terry Pegula would even consider making such a move.
Darcy Regier may have given the impression that Lindy Ruff ain't goin' nowhere if the Sabres' season continues trending downward, but Ted Black was far from willing to use that vernacular when I spoke to the team president last night during Buffalo's 5-4 shootout win over Montreal.
Black's refusal to declare the coach as untouchable isn't a news flash for folks who heard him echo that sentiment during his radio show Thursday morning. When I asked him last night if Ruff ran the risk of being fired before the end of the season if the team continued to struggle, his theme was the same.
"We'll cross that Peace Bridge when we get to it," Black said. "It wouldn't be fair to anyone right now to jump ahead and lay out what we would do."
It's been quite a couple of weeks for the former member of Mario Lemieux's senior management team in Pittsburgh. After a glorious and somewhat surreal honeymoon with a rabid Sabres fan base which began two weeks short of two years ago, the ugly part of the marriage is now beginning to run its course.
About The Sabres Observer
Dave Davis has covered the Buffalo Sabres for various NHL accredited websites and newspapers since 2003. He was the senior writer and Sabres correspondent for The Fourth Period, covered hockey for Western New York Sports and Leisure Magazine, and has had articles featured on NHL.com, FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports and in New York Sportscene. Sabres news and notes can be found on his Twitter page.
Email: email@example.com Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]