By this time tomorrow, most likely, there will be another name next to ‘L. Ruff’ on that top line. You all know (and can see there) how long it’s been since you could say that about the Buffalo Sabres. Whether ‘R. Rolston’ starts with a win, or a loss, it’s going to look pretty darn strange there. I almost started this by saying I’ve never seen a non-Lindy Ruff Sabres team, but that’s not true. My first NHL game (albeit a pre-season one) was in the second year from the bottom (1992-1993), when the Sabres played in their ECHL affiliate’s barn in Norfolk, VA. Here’s my local paper’s take on the game. Funny to me now how they mentioned the crowd seemed to be behind Buffalo and not Washington. I think Alexander Mogilny might’ve had something to do with it. Another newspaper complaining about the home crowd, imagine. I seem to remember that being a notable year for Mogilny, heh. Anyway, I think every other game I’ve attended had Lindy Ruff at the helm.
I do think the timing is right here. He seemed to be at an end with what to do with his band of losers, and it’s as much putting him out of his misery as it is ‘shaking things up’. I hope he does well somewhere, preferably in the Western conference. I’ll always remember the anger and fire from his best days, as Heather B. mentioned, whether it’s sparring with Bryan Murray or Ken Hitchcock, or grabbing Pominville’s stick to bang on the boards to get the ref’s attention (and scaring the crap out of Jason at the same time), I’ll miss him. But I already missed that Lindy, as he’s appeared all too infrequently in recent years.
Do I expect some monumental turnaround? I don’t, really. Ruff had faults as a coach, but the talent is what it is. There are a lot of parts here that seem to not fit into a spot, at least the way they’ve been assembled. It might take another off-season to fix that. I’ve been resigned to the fact for a time now that the playoffs are pretty unlikely, and it’s best just to enjoy the games as best as I can. That’s actually a pretty good thing to do at any time, by the way. It’s how I get through football season. I’d like to close by thanking Lindy Ruff for all the time he’s put in here and for here, and wishing good luck to Ron Rolston.