Lindy Ruff is no stranger to Buffalo, but when he arrives at HSBC Arena on Monday, he’ll certainly be in a new place.
Ruff was the Sabres’ coach for 15 seasons until he was fired after a 6-10-1 start to lockout-shortened 2013, after which he was brought in to helm the Dallas Stars. His career in Buffalo surely had its highs and lows: Ruff guided the Sabres to the franchise’s only Stanley Cup Final appearance (a controversial loss to Dallas in 1999), but his teams also finished out of the playoffs from 2001 to ’04, 2007 to ’09, and in 2012 and ’13. At the time of his firing, he was the longest-tenured coach in all of professional sports, and his 571 wins with Buffalo are the second most for a coach with just one team. Ruff is also one of only four coaches who have ever been behind the bench with a single franchise for more than 1,000 games.
Now, he’ll get a view from the visitor’s side in his first visit to Buffalo since being relieved of his duties.
“I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about it,” Ruff said after the Stars’ shootout loss to Winnipeg on Saturday.