Enough of Ruff
Before I get into Ruff Leino has his hearing today for his elbow to Matt Read last night, since Leino is a first time offender I expect a fine at most but wouldn't shock me to see a 1 game suspension which in my opinion is deserved. On the other hand the fact that there will be no hearing for Bourbon with the Czar of discipline is a little surpring to me. Gerbe has a concussion and is now added to the list of injuries thanks to that Bourbon hit. We will see how it all unfolds.
Lindy Ruff the coach of the Buffalo Sabres for 14 years. He has survived a lockout, 4 owner changes, and bankruptcy. 166 coaching changes have occured since Lindy Ruff was hired as Sabres bench boss. Five of those coaches had Stanley Cup rings. Under his tenure the Sabres have 2 division titles and 1 Eastern Conference Championship, and obviously only 1 cup appearence. The team has made the playoffs 8 of 13 years he's been coaching. Since after the 06-07 season the Sabres have won 0 playoff series and made the playoffs twice. In total Ruff has won 12 playoff series in 13 years. His teams average a season point total of 92pts equating his team usually finishes between 7th and 13th in the conference. He has won the Jack Adams 1 time after a surprising 05-06 season out of the lockout. With a team featuring: Briere, Drury, Vanek, McKee, Miller, Dumont, Connolly (in his prime), Lydman, Tallinder, Roy, Biron, and Pominville to name a few. Stellar team.
Outside of stats Ruff struggle to intigrate new players into his system. Deadline moves of Raffi Torres, Dominic Moore, Dainus Zuburus, Steve Bernier and Brad Boyes of the recent history have done nothing to help this team out. This could be a sign to the current struggles of Leino and slow start of Ehrhoff.
As you read Ruff's stats most of you probably think that's not bad, but average isn't ok anymore. With new owner Terry Pegula being mediocre is no longer acceptable. He threw big money into this team not only with players but into arena renovations as well. He has brought hope to a fan base that begs for a winner, but continous to watch disappointment. When is enough, enough? When does Ruff no longer get a pass?
He has lost most of this team and it shows on the ice. Ruff screaming at Vanek last night because he was coasting (not to mention that's one of the guys keeping your team afloat right now) Vanek stared at the ice until Ruff scolded Vanek to look at him when he talks to him. Thats your guys wearing the "A" and should of been the "C". He has lost Stafford and Roy, with Ennis soon to come. It's to late to get back Stafford and Roy both need a one way ticket out. Ennis has a little Max Afinogenov in him, ver stick handles turns the puck over at the blue line. Ennis can be saved and shown how to play the game right. Instead Ruff will sit him or just thrust his system down his throat until he is lost like Roy and Stafford. I don't want Ruff to get his hand anywhere near Kassian or McNabb. He is starting to ruin Myers by telling him to concentrate more on defense than being part of the rush. Not Myers game. Ruff mishandles his goaltending every season like clock work dating all the way back to Biron and Miller days. He runs Miller into the ground doesn't play the backup, until this year decides he's going to play Enroth a ton and start a goalie controversy when Miller starts slow. Way to keep the face of your franchise happy. I can go on, pulling Luke Adam off the Vanek and Pommer line. Splitting up the Leino Kassian Adam line last night. Not giving Vanek, Adam, or Kassian playing time in the final 3 minutes of regulation or OT last night. Power Play hasn't been good since 06-07. I'll stop there.
For years this team folds under pressure. Remember when they were called the "hardest working team in hockey"? Ha! Seems silly to think that now. This team has no effort, no consistency, no toughness, and no pride. They used to be just like the city it represented. Hard working and determined. Those were the days. Ruff has shoved his defense first system into the face of every player and fan over and over and over again. In turn the team continues to blow leads over and over and over again. This has been a problem for 3 or 4 years now because once the Sabres have a lead of more than 1 goal Ruff orders a full retreat (see last nights game).
Not only is Ruff to blame here, the GM Darcy Regier needs to go as well. I think 13 years has been long enough of his "patient" moves and average teams. As long as Regier is around Ruff isn't going anywhere.
The other problem is who would be the coach to replace Ruff? Randy Carlye is currently seeking employment, but outside of that I have no idea. They let Kevin Dineen walk this offseason who coached a lot of these players in Portland. Dineen has his Panthers in first place in the Southeast Division and is on track for the Jack Adams award this year. Good coach right under the Sabres nose. Time will tell what happens with Ruff. I don't expect a move instead I expect more mediocre play and blown leads. Maybe if this teams misses the playoffs or is out of the top 8 by the half way point a move will be made.