Lindy Ruff

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Lindy Ruff
Lindyruff 2006nhlawards.jpg
Born (1960-02-17) February 17, 1960 (age 58)
Warburg, Alberta, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Occupation Ice hockey coach, player

Coaching career
Position Assistant coach
General manager Jeff Gorton
Team New York Rangers
Previous team(s) Buffalo Sabres
Dallas Stars
Years as NHL player 1978–1991
Years as a coach 1993–
Years as an NHL coach 1993–2017
Years with current team 2017–present

Ice hockey career
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight 201 lb (91 kg; 14 st 5 lb)
Position Defence/Left wing
Shot Left
Played for Buffalo Sabres
New York Rangers
NHL Draft 32nd overall, 1979
Buffalo Sabres
Playing career 1979–1993

Lindy Cameron Ruff (born February 17, 1960) is a Canadian assistant coach for the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League (NHL). Ruff was previously the head coach of the Dallas Stars of the NHL, and also the head coach of the Buffalo Sabres from 1997 to 2013, with whom he won the Jack Adams Award as Coach of the Year in 2006. During his playing career, Ruff played in the NHL for the Sabres and Rangers, the former of which he captained.

Ruff was an assistant coach for the 2014 Canadian Olympic Hockey Team.

Playing career[edit]

Ruff was chosen in the second round, 32nd overall, of the 1979 NHL Entry Draft, by the Buffalo Sabres. He played for the Sabres and New York Rangers. Ruff gained a reputation as a player for his toughness, character and hard work on the ice. An illustration of this came in a May 10, 1980, playoff game against the New York Islanders, when opposing goaltender Billy Smith struck Ruff with his stick as he passed in front of his net. Ruff got up, skated back to the goaltender and tackled him.[1]

Ruff played most of his NHL career for the Sabres, serving as captain of the team for nearly three years, but he was traded to the Rangers at the 1989 NHL trade deadline in exchange for a draft pick. The Sabres would use that pick to select Richard Šmehlík, who would later play for several years under Ruff.

Ruff played in 691 NHL games, scoring 105 goals and adding 195 assists for a total of 300 points. He also recorded 1,264 penalty minutes. In 52 playoff games, Ruff recorded 11 goals and 13 assists while accumulating 193 penalty minutes.

Coaching career[edit]

Assistant coach[edit]

Ruff became assistant coach of the Florida Panthers for the 1993–94 season until the 1996–97 season. His greatest success as an assistant coach was with the 1995–96 Florida Panthers, who made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, but lost to the Colorado Avalanche.

Buffalo Sabres[edit]

Ruff was named the 15th head coach of the Buffalo Sabres on July 21, 1997.[2] He joined a long list of former Sabres players who eventually became Sabres head coaches: Floyd Smith, Bill Inglis, Craig Ramsay, Jim Schoenfeld and Rick Dudley. He had immediate success in Buffalo, advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals in the 1997–98 season. In Ruff's second season as coach, the Sabres reached the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals before finally losing to the Dallas Stars in six games. The Stars' Brett Hull scored a goal deep into the third overtime. There was a dispute that Hull's skate was in the goaltender's crease before he had control of the puck, which was (under then 1999 rules) a clear violation, giving Dallas the Stanley Cup. The following two seasons saw Ruff's Sabres lose in the first round to the Philadelphia Flyers and the second round to the Pittsburgh Penguins, respectively.

Buffalo missed the playoffs in the three seasons preceding the 2004–05 NHL lockout amidst the team's bankruptcy and financial problems caused by the Adelphia Communications corporate scandal. After the lockout, Ruff lead the Sabres to back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals appearances only to lose to the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 and the Ottawa Senators in 2007. Ruff was the longest-tenured coach in the NHL and was rewarded with a three-year contract extension that had an option for a fourth season.[3]

Ruff is known for being blunt with the media. A well-known example of his bluntness were his comments regarding Toronto Maple Leafs player Darcy Tucker. In his post-game interview following a questionable hit on Jochen Hecht that knocked the Sabres centre out of the lineup for two weeks with a sprained ACL in the 2005–06 season, Ruff said, "I want him [Tucker] suspended." He also said, "I have not called the NHL office all year and I will call them ten times tomorrow." He called Tucker's hit "an absolute joke".[4]

On April 5, 2006, Ruff became the 31st coach in NHL history to win 300 games, and just the 16th to do so with only one team. Ruff led the Sabres to their most successful regular season ever in 2006–07 with a 53–22–7 record for a total of 113 points.

Ruff was the winner of the 2005–06 Jack Adams Award for coach of the year in the NHL. Tom Renney of the New York Rangers and Peter Laviolette of the Carolina Hurricanes were also nominated.

Ruff was again nominated for the Jack Adams Award in 2006–07. His nomination was the second time he has been a finalist for coach of the year. Alain Vigneault of the Vancouver Canucks won the honour; Ruff placed second in voting with 126 points to Vigneault's 134.[5]

In February 2007, Ruff was fined US$10,000 by the NHL after a brawl with the Ottawa Senators. The NHL said Ruff precipitated the brawl following a questionable hit on then co-captain Chris Drury by the Senators' Chris Neil.[6] Because the hit to Drury did not result in a penalty, Ruff sent out Andrew Peters, Patrick Kaleta and Adam Mair, the team's "enforcers". What followed was one of the 2006–07 season's most memorable hockey brawls. Mair began the brawl, punching Ottawa's Jason Spezza as soon as the puck was dropped. Peters tried to start a fight with Dany Heatley, who was reluctant to respond, at one point even hiding behind a linesman. The goaltenders also entered the fight, with Martin Biron challenging Ray Emery, and Ruff himself engaged in a prolonged shouting match with Senators head coach Bryan Murray.[7]

After a second round playoff match against the New York Rangers on April 27, 2007, Ruff would be fined again by the NHL after harshly criticizing officials for an alleged missed too-many-men call against the Rangers, which might have given Buffalo a chance to tie the match in the closing minute.[8]

In the 2006–07 season, Ruff became the first Sabres coach to lead the team to back-to-back 50 win seasons,[9] boasting the fifth-best points percentage in the NHL since 1979.[citation needed]

On October 15, 2008, Ruff became the 23rd coach in NHL history to win 400 games, and just the seventh to win 400 games for one team.

Ruff was named as an associate coach for Canada, which won the gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

On January 6, 2011, Ruff became only the 16th coach in NHL history to win 500 games, and just the second to win 500 games while only having coached one team.

On January 8, 2011, Ruff became the winningest coach who only coached for one team in NHL history when the Sabres defeated the Phoenix Coyotes 2–1 in overtime. His 501st win behind the bench with the Sabres put him one ahead of Toe Blake, who coached to 500 wins with the Montreal Canadiens. Al Arbour won more games for the New York Islanders, but he also coached the St. Louis Blues early in his career. Along with Arbour, Billy Reay and current Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz, Ruff is one of just four coaches to coach 1,000 NHL games with a single team.

On April 29, 2011, the Sabres announced Ruff had agreed to a multiple year contract extension.[10]

On February 20, 2013, the Sabres announced Ruff had been relieved of his coaching duties,[11][12] ending his tenure as the NHL's longest active-serving coach with one team and second only to Gregg Popovich in the four major sports in North America.[13] Ron Rolston, head coach of the American Hockey League's Rochester Americans, was named as his replacement.[14]

Dallas Stars[edit]

On June 20, 2013, the Dallas Stars announced they were in the process of hiring Ruff as head coach. This was also on the anniversary of the controversial defeat of the Sabres in the Stanley Cup Finals in 1999.[15] On June 21, 2013, the Stars announced Ruff would be their new head coach.[16]

Ruff continued to support Buffalo even in his new role against them. Of late, he was quoted saying, "I am saddened by the current status of the Buffalo Sabres. I am deeply disappointed in the direction the team has gone since my leaving. I wish them all the best, and hope for winning days ahead, but not tonight." This was said on his first day back to Buffalo, where the Stars won 4–3.

In 2014, Ruff led the Stars to their first playoff appearance since 2008, but lost in the opening round to the Anaheim Ducks in six games. Ruff served as the head coach of the Central Division squad in the 2015–16 All-Star Game.[17]

On April 9, 2017, the Stars announced Ruff would not return as head coach for the 2017–18 season.[18][19]

New York Rangers[edit]

On July 10, 2017, it was announced Ruff was named as assistant coach of the New York Rangers.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Ruff's younger brother, Brent Ruff, was one of four teammates killed in a bus crash while playing for the Swift Current Broncos in 1986.

Another younger brother, Marty Ruff, was a first round draft pick of the St. Louis Blues, but never appeared in an NHL game.

An older brother, Randy Ruff, played and coached in junior hockey.

Lindy Ruff and his wife Gaye have four children: Brett, Eryn and twins Madeline and Brian. The Ruffs' primary residence is in Clarence, New York.

Career statistics[edit]

Playing statistics[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1976–77 Taber Golden Suns AJHL 60 13 33 46 112
1976–77 Lethbridge Broncos WCHL 2 0 2 2 0
1977–78 Lethbridge Broncos WCHL 66 9 24 33 219 8 2 8 10 4
1978–79 Lethbridge Broncos WHL 24 9 18 27 108 6 0 1 1 0
1979–80 Buffalo Sabres NHL 63 5 14 19 38 8 1 1 2 19
1980–81 Buffalo Sabres NHL 65 8 18 26 121 6 3 1 4 23
1981–82 Buffalo Sabres NHL 79 16 32 48 194 4 0 0 0 28
1982–83 Buffalo Sabres NHL 60 12 17 29 130 10 4 2 6 47
1983–84 Buffalo Sabres NHL 58 14 31 45 101 3 1 0 1 9
1984–85 Buffalo Sabres NHL 39 13 11 24 45 5 2 4 5 15
1985–86 Buffalo Sabres NHL 54 20 12 32 158
1986–87 Buffalo Sabres NHL 50 6 14 20 74
1987–88 Buffalo Sabres NHL 77 2 23 25 179 6 0 2 2 23
1988–89 Buffalo Sabres NHL 63 6 11 17 86
1988–89 New York Rangers NHL 13 0 5 5 31 2 0 0 0 17
1989–90 New York Rangers NHL 56 3 6 9 80 8 0 3 3 12
1990–91 New York Rangers NHL 14 0 1 1 27
1991–92 Rochester Americans AHL 62 10 24 34 110 13 0 4 4 16
1992–93 San Diego Gulls IHL 81 10 32 42 100 14 1 6 7 26
NHL totals 691 105 195 300 1264 52 11 13 24 193

Coaching statistics[edit]

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T OTL Pts Finish W L Win % Result
BUF 1997–98 82 36 29 17 89 3rd in Northeast 10 5 .667 Lost in Conference Finals
BUF 1998–99 82 37 28 17 91 4th in Northeast 14 7 .667 Lost in Stanley Cup Finals
BUF 1999–00 82 35 32 11 4 85 3rd in Northeast 1 4 .200 Lost in Conference Quarterfinals
BUF 2000–01 82 46 30 5 1 98 2nd in Northeast 7 6 .538 Lost in Conference Semifinals
BUF 2001–02 82 35 35 11 1 82 5th in Northeast Missed playoffs
BUF 2002–03 82 27 37 10 8 72 5th in Northeast Missed playoffs
BUF 2003–04 82 37 34 7 4 85 5th in Northeast Missed playoffs
BUF 2005–06 82 52 24 6 110 2nd in Northeast 11 7 .611 Lost in Conference Finals
BUF 2006–07 82 53 22 7 113 1st in Northeast 9 7 .563 Lost in Conference Finals
BUF 2007–08 82 39 31 12 90 4th in Northeast Missed playoffs
BUF 2008–09 82 41 32 9 91 3rd in Northeast Missed playoffs
BUF 2009–10 82 45 27 10 100 1st in Northeast 2 4 .333 Lost in Conference Quarterfinals
BUF 2010–11 82 43 29 10 96 3rd in Northeast 3 4 .429 Lost in Conference Quarterfinals
BUF 2011–12 82 39 32 11 89 3rd in Northeast Missed playoffs
BUF 2012–13 17 6 10 1 13 (fired)
DAL 2013–14 82 40 31 11 91 5th in Central 2 4 .333 Lost in Conference Quarterfinals
DAL 2014–15 82 41 31 10 92 6th in Central Missed playoffs
DAL 2015–16 82 50 23 9 109 1st in Central 7 6 .538 Lost in Conference Semifinals
DAL 2016–17 82 34 37 11 79 6th in Central Missed playoffs
Total 1493 736 554 78 125 66 54 .550

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Klein, J. Z. (February 23, 2013). "As a fired coach reels, so do fans in buffalo". New York Times. Retrieved February 2, 2018. 
  2. ^ NHL.com – Coaches Archived August 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Regier, Ruff re-up with Sabres – Business First of Buffalo:
  4. ^ ESPN – Knee sprain to sideline Hecht for two weeks – NHL
  5. ^ Vigneault wins three-way race for Adams Archived November 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ NHL.com – News
  7. ^ Sabres vs Senators Brawl 2/22/07
  8. ^ NHL.com – News
  9. ^ "Sabres coach, Clarence resident Lindy Ruff highlights Greater Buffalo 2010 Class | www.clarencebee.com | Clarence Bee". Retrieved 2018-02-04. 
  10. ^ Sabres sign Ruff to contract extension – AP
  11. ^ "Buffalo Sabres relieve Lindy Ruff of coaching duties". Retrieved 20 February 2013. 
  12. ^ http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory/sabres-fire-coach-lindy-ruff-10-start-18550021
  13. ^ https://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=416441
  14. ^ http://dellsports.com/sportspage/#/nhl/articles/read/article=459268/
  15. ^ http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/blog/eye-on-hockey/22491324/report-lindy-ruff-to-be-named-next-coach-of-dallas-stars
  16. ^ http://stars.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=674757&navid=DL%7cDAL%7chome
  17. ^ http://stars.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=796252
  18. ^ https://www.nhl.com/stars/news/dallas-stars-announce-lindy-ruff-will-not-return-as-head-coach-for-2017-18-season/c-288605456
  19. ^ Fox, Luke (April 10, 2017). "NHL Black Monday Roundup: L.A. Kings clean house". Sportsnet. Retrieved April 10, 2017. 
  20. ^ "Rangers Name Lindy Ruff Assistant Coach". NHL.com. July 10, 2017. Retrieved July 11, 2017. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Gilbert Perreault
Buffalo Sabres captain
19861989
Succeeded by
Mike Foligno
Preceded by
John Tortorella
Jack Adams Award winner
2006
Succeeded by
Alain Vigneault
Preceded by
Ted Nolan
Head coach of the Buffalo Sabres
19972013
Succeeded by
Ron Rolston
Preceded by
Glen Gulutzan
Head coach of the Dallas Stars
20132017
Succeeded by
Ken Hitchcock