The Buffalo Sabres made the move Wednesday fans thought would never come, firing coach Lindy Ruff.
Ruff had been the longest-tenured coach in the NHL and in Sabres history, taking the helm prior to the 1997-98 season. He had career record of 558-442 with 78 ties and 83 overtime losses. His clubs made four Eastern Conference Finals appearances, one Stanley Cup trip and won one President's Trophy.
But the Sabres have been bogged down in recent years, finishing ninth in the Eastern Conference final and slogging to a 6-10-1 start this season. Many Sabres had begged for the move for years but turned their voice up during a two-month stretch last season that saw Buffalo go from near the division lead to the Eastern Conference basement. Only a late surge last year made the final result respectable.
There will be no such surge this season. As recently as two weeks ago, General Manager Darcy Regier said any change made on the Sabres "won't be the coach." Tuesday's lackluster 2-1 loss to Winnipeg seemed to be the final straw, with the club exhibiting no hear or desire for nearly two-thirds of the game.
The Sabres announced the move via Twitter. There's no immediate word on his successor. None of the Sabres' assistant coaches (James Patrick, Kevyn Adams, Teppo Numminen) have any NHL head coaching experience.
The move was announced hours after the club waived forward Cody McCormick.Tags: Buffalo, Buffalo Sabres, Hockey, NHL