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Buffalo Sabres fire Lindy Ruff, hire Ron Rolston as interim coach

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Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff has been fired

Many people have been wondering what took the Sabres so long to fire coach Lindy Ruff. (Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon SMI)

By Allan Muir

It’s not tough to guess the exact moment when Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier knew it was time to fire coach Lindy Ruff.

It came during last night’s shambolic 2-1 loss to Winnipeg when Ryan Miller, the face of the franchise, threw his arms into the air in disgust after he’d allowed the Jets’ first goal.

It was another selfish display from Miller, a player whose own tenure with the franchise might be drawing to a close. But it also spoke clearly to how out of control the situation had become.

Surely Regier saw that, and then noticed the slump-shouldered resignation that settled into most, but not all, of the Sabres on their bench.

If he hadn’t been convinced that Ruff had lost the team, that moment removed all doubt

And so Regier, whose blind loyalty to Ruff kept the struggling coach employed years after his best-by date, finally made the call to let him go on Wednesday afternoon.

Ruff is a good man and an excellent coach, but his message had gone stale. It was absolutely the right decision by Regier…and absolutely the last one he should be allowed to make.

The culture of losing that permeates this franchise won’t be any easier to disinfect than the Carnival Triumph. Installing a new man behind the bench might be just the tonic elsewhere, but in Buffalo it’s the equivalent of slapping on a new coat of paint. Regier has assembled an ill-fitting mix of parts. There are too many small forwards, the defense is soft and ineffective and there’s a serious deficit of character. This organization needs to be stripped down to the frame, and rebuilt from there.

And that’s why Regier should have followed Ruff out the door.

It didn’t happen today, but it almost surely will if the Sabres don’t engineer a remarkable turnaround and make the playoffs. The announcement that Rochester coach Ron Rolston had been hired to coach on an interim basis is telling. By not making him a permanent hire, the organization created freedom for a potential replacement GM to name his own man.

That’s a smart move. The second one the team made today. Just one more to go.

  • Published On Feb 20, 2013
  • 6 comments
    Jim22
    Jim22

    Another stupid article !! First off, the move wasn't made by Regier and secondly , you mean to tell me that after Winnipeg scored the first goal in the first period ,that deflated most of the team ??? Pretty hack journalism !

    SeanCarnegie
    SeanCarnegie

    I hated the move when they brought Lindy to Buffalo and their dismissal of Nolan to do it.  Now I hate the move of firing him.  Get rid of Darcy, send Miller anywhere else and rebuild it with Lindy but.... Ron Rolston??

    MediaCritiquer
    MediaCritiquer

    Seriously - I can't believe the fans returned after being kicked around via the lock-out.

    W.k.
    W.k.

    It's hard for anyone to keep people tuned in to the same message for a long time, and in Lindy's case a looooooong time.  He'll be back somewhere, but his time in Buffalo had long since passed.  Why Regier wasn't shown the door first is a mystery.

    VforViking
    VforViking

    I'm sure there's not many people who didn't see this coming -- especially with the way the Sabres are playing right now.  It's funny that AM characterized the 1999 team as "underachievers" because that could be applied to virtually every team Ruff had to work with -- and that's the GM's fault.  Shuffle off from Buffalo, Darcy, you need to go, too!