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Some Thoughts On The Hiring of Lindy Ruff

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BY RANDY SCHULTZ –

It’s been two weeks since the Buffalo Sabres hired Lindy Ruff as their new head coach for the upcoming 2024-25 NHL season.

Using that opening line some Sabres fans would say it was a rehiring, not hired and not new head coach, but a former Sabres head coach brought back for a second time around.

There are hockey fans out there that like the hiring. There are others who think it’s bad, another former Sabres player, and in this case, coach brought back.

I have seen a lot of hiring and firing of Sabres coaches over the past 50-plus years of covering the team and the NHL. And over these past two week’s local hockey fans have asked my thoughts on the hiring.

I have to admit that listening to Sabres GM, Kevyn Adams the week before Ruff’s hiring, there was no doubt the type of head coach he was looking for fit Ruff. He wanted a coach that had NHL experience, along with some other qualifications.

Yes, there were maybe two or three other candidates out there. But when the final decision had to be made, it was Ruff.

I’m OK with Ruff’s hiring. This is not the same Lindy Ruff that was relieved of his Sabres coaching duties the first time.

Ruff has had a few more coaching experiences since his first Sabres coaching stint. He’s had stops in New York with the Rangers as an assistant coach, head coaching with the Dallas Stars and New Jersey Devils.

And toss in an associate coaching assignment with Team Canada for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Ruff grew as a coach with each stop. Like he said during his recent press conference he has a passion for hockey. He can’t get enough of the game. That’s why he is still in the game at 64.

Ruff seems to be the right coach to take the Sabres to the next level meaning: make the playoffs after missing them for the past 13 seasons.

Another key to Ruff’s hiring will be who is going to be hired as his assistants. Two of former head coach Don Granato’s assistant coaches are still with the Sabres. But it hasn’t been defined what their roles will be with the Sabres for the upcoming season.

Was Ruff’s hiring completed too soon after Granato’s firing? Not really. Decisions are going to have to be made over the next couple of months as to who will  or won’t be coming back to the Sabres next season.

The NHL Draft is coming. So is free-agency signings. Possible trades.

The Sabres need a head coach to be in place. The future success of the Sabres now falls directly on Ruff’s and Adams’ shoulders. What they do from this point on will determine the future of the team.

Stay tuned.

(Photos by NY Hockey OnLine)