Buffalo Sabres reunite with Lindy Ruff as head coach

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Buffalo Sabres reunite with Lindy Ruff as head coach

Six days after firing Don Granato, the Buffalo Sabres announced that Lindy Ruff would return to the organization as the team’s next head coach.

Ruff, who coached the Sabres from 1997-2013 and played for the team from 1979 to 1989, is among the most popular figures in franchise history. The Sabres have had seven different coaches since they fired Ruff in 2013 and have not made the playoffs since they fired him.

“I am thrilled to welcome Lindy back as the head coach of the Buffalo Sabres,” Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said in a statement. “As I went through the hiring process, it quickly became clear Lindy was the person for the job. He has experience, a proven track record, familiarity with young players, and so much more. I want to be clear though that this hire was not made with nostalgia in mind. Lindy is the right person for the job now and any history with our organization and community is simply an added bonus. I believe wholeheartedly that Lindy can help our team reach their goals and am excited to get to work with him.”



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Ruff is the winningest coach in Sabres history, having led the team to three trips to the Eastern Conference Final and a Stanley Cup Final appearance. Since leaving the Sabres in 2013, Ruff coached the Dallas Stars for four seasons and the New Jersey Devils for three-and-a-half seasons. He led the Devils to their highest point total in franchise history last season before he got hired when injuries and poor goaltending caused the Devils to take a step back.

“I am thankful to Terry, the Pegula family, and Kevyn Adams for this opportunity,” Ruff said. “This is a team ready to take the next step. I am both humbled and honored to be trusted to help this team win now. It is not a job that I take lightly. It is my goal to ensure that players believe in each other, play for each other and love being a Buffalo Sabre. There is no doubt that we all need to embrace the challenge ahead of us. The work starts today and I could not be more excited.”

Ruff, who still lives in the Buffalo area, is a significant part of the franchise’s history and will now have the chance to help the Sabres end a league-record 13-season playoff drought. When Sabres owner Terry Pegula fired Ruff in 2013 he said, “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 qualities have made this decision very difficult. I personally want Lindy to know that he can consider me a friend always.”

On Monday, he backed up those words by hiring him back. Adams, who was an assistant under Ruff from 2011 to 2013, said he wanted experience and pedigree in the Sabres’ next head coach. He also said he wanted somebody who could bring accountability and structure to the organization. Ruff checks all those boxes with 864 career wins as a head coach and 11 playoff appearances. And last week during exit interviews, Sabres forward Alex Tuch, who grew up a fan of the Sabres during Ruff’s first stint as coach, made it clear how this hire might be received by the current group of players.

“I think I’ve probably watched Lindy coach about as many games as I’ve actually played or more than the amount of games I’ve played for the Sabres. He was my favorite coach growing up. Those were the teams that I watched, or sat on the couch and watched with my dad. To see what he was able to do with those teams was really cool. It was really special. I got to actually meet him for the first time this year. I didn’t even think about that. Lindy’s a great coach, a really smart guy. I’ve always been a huge fan of his.”

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(Photo: Josh Lavallee / NHLI via Getty Images)