Monday night the Buffalo Sabres gave Lindy Ruff a standing ovation during the first break in the Dallas vs. Sabres game. This was his first trip back to Buffalo where Ruff reigns as their winningest coach and the fans showed their love.
But it wasn’t always cheers for Lindy Ruff, now the Dallas Stars head coach.
February 19, 2013, Lindy Ruff, then head coach of the Buffalo Sabres, were booed off the ice after a 2-1 loss to Winnipeg . The next day, he was fired and three days later, Ruff gives a farewell news conference.
On the anniversary of the Dallas Stars Stanley Cup win over the Sabres, the Stars organization announced they were in the process of hiring Ruff as head coach. On June 21, Lindy Ruff becomes the new head coach of the Dallas Stars, an organization that definitely needs a winning coach. Guess they couldn’t get the paperwork done fast enough to make it an entirely anniversary deal, but close enough.
Who is Lindy Ruff?
Ruff played in the NHL for the New York Rangers and the Buffalo Sabres. He was the 32nd overall and chosen in the second round of the 1979 NHL Entry Draft.
In the NHL, Ruff played 691 games, scored 105 goals, 195 assists totally 300 points. He played in 52 playoff games with 11 goals and 13 assists. Penalty minutes accumulated to 1,264 total, 193 of those in playoffs.
Ruff comes by his name honestly. He’s known as a tough guy on the ice, tackling goalies who stick him. As a coach, he’s famous for the $10,000 NHL fine he supposedly encouraged a brawl with his Buffalo players against Ottawa, becoming one of the 2006-07 season’s most memorable on-ice shenanigans. He’s also been fined for criticizing the refs, and we in Dallas know, they don’t like that (do they, Mr. Cuban?).
A Jack Adams Award winning coach, as of 2011, Ruff was the winningest coach for a single team in NHL history, and is one of four coaches to coach 1,000 NHL games for one team, all for the Buffalo Sabres.
But that didn’t help him earlier this year when Buffalo let him go, replacing him with (younger) Ron Rolston, former head coach of the AHL Rochester Americans.
And now, Dallas has the winningest coach, but it’s not helping . . . yet.
The Stars won the Buffalo game Monday night, squeaking by with a 4-3 victory. Since 1997, Stars had no wins, five losses, and two ties against Buffalo, not including the playoffs.
That one win, nice as it was for Lindy Ruff’s homecoming, isn’t a trend for the Stars at the moment. Last night’s loss in overtime to the Avalanche (2-3) is the second loss in a row for Dallas, starting a downhill spiral that they may not be able to overcome.
The Stars play the Senators Sunday at noon in Ottawa. The lackluster Stars need some of that Lindy Ruff coaching magic. Will Ruff rough up the Sens on this trip?