The NHL’s longest serving coach, at 16 years, Lindy Ruff has been relieved of his duties as of today. Ruff with a career 532-400-151 record was also the winningest coach in Sabres history.
He led the team to a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1999 losing to the Dallas Stars on Brett Hull’s controversial game 6 overtime goal. He also led the team to Conference Final Appearances in1998, 2006 and 2007. He also led the team to finish 1st overall and winning the President’s Trophy in 2006-07.
Ruff also coached Canada at the IIHF World Championships in 2009, where he lead the team to a silver medal performance. Ruff also was a part of Team Canada’s 2010 Olympic coaching staff as an assistant on the team that would win Gold in Vancouver.
The Sabres sit in 13th place in the Eastern Conference with a 6-10-1 record, and have gone 4-10-1 since opening the season with wins in their first two games. They dropped a 2-1 decision at home yesterday to the Winnipeg Jets, and were booed off the ice by the home crowd. On Saturday, goaltender Ryan Miller publicly criticized the team for their recent play, and habit of blowing late game leads.
The Sabres main issue has been at the defensive end of the ice. Led by Thomas Vanek, the offence has scored 47 goals this season, enough to put them in the top half of the NHL standings, however they have given up 56 goals against which puts them in a tie for second last in the NHL. It will be up to the Sabres next coach to shore up the defensive side of the game in order to improve the club, and get them back in the playoff hunt.
Edit: The Sabres have announced that Ron Rolston, the coach of the their AHL farm club, the Rochester Americans, has been named the team’s Head Coach for the rest of the season.
Barry Trotz of Nashville is now the NHL’s longest serving active coach.