Lindy Ruff Deserves Blame For The Sabres’ Slump

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Let me preface this article by saying that normally, I do not get so frustrated by what a professional hockey team does in the lines of success. Yet, this one hits home more and more every day as the Buffalo Sabres keep lying to the fans.

Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff has to go. It’s plain and simple.

Saturday’s abomination of a game where they led one of the worst teams in the NHL, 3-1, going into the third period sealed the deal for me as a Buffalo Sabres supporter.

For those of you who have been around long enough to remember when Ruff was a player here in Buffalo, you will remember he was one who took very little grief from opposing players and had laid out his fair share of dirty hits.

Most of these were just all part of the game, but Ruff was known as a guy who is not going to back down on the ice.

Fast forward to his coaching career.

Why would a coach who played like that be the world’s softest coach in the NHL?

For the life of me, I am unable to come up with one good reason why.

Prior to the lockout, Ruff had limited success as a head coach. When I say limited, I am referring to his first two seasons  when he took over the reigns for Ted Nolan.

When it comes to management skills and building his own team, Ruff has had limited success doing that.

Coming out of the lockout, Buffalo captured lightning in a bottle and were poised to be ready for the new rules of hockey—more wide open, less clutch and grab. The team also looked to be a more fan friendly hockey team with more scoring.

Ruff and the Sabres took the NHL by surprise in the 2005-06 season when they made it to round three of the playoffs, then repeated the exact same feat one season later.

Two seasons removed from then, Buffalo looks to be on the verge of making it two straight years without making the playoffs.

The reason? The Sabres are soft. There is uninspired play from the entire team.

It seems almost unbelievable to Buffalo fans that a team with so much youth and talent and promise could be so far away from competing on a high level.

Buffalo fans, you need not look any further then at Ruff.

Ruff seems almost content with playing soft, holding the lead, floating and having his team play non-tone setting hockey that burns most teams season after season.

Most coaches get fired for such insubordination, but not Ruff.

The Sabres organization seems content on selling the company line, “they are playing for their playoff lives right now.”

Does anyone really believe this anymore?

This team is far from playing for their playoff lives and Ruff still coddles them as if they were 3-years-old.

It seems that Ruff wants his players to like him more than he wants them to respect him as a coach.

Well, that alone is far from a winning combination.

Some of the greatest sports coaches in history all had players that hated them, but they respected them and understood that in no uncertain terms that mediocre play was not acceptable.

One would even parish the thought to think one of these coaches would have a mediocre thought about their teams.

So, after the loss, Sabres fans would think today that the team would be back to the drawing board. I envision some wind sprints, some PP work, and some defensive line shuffling.

Nope!

How about rewarding the players with another day off.

Yes, they received a day off, fans!

You wonder why this teams refuses to show any sense of urgency on the ice?

It is because the coach and his employment are never in jeopardy in Buffalo.

Most NHL coaches trying to get into one of the last two spots for the playoffs would have probably put their team through the ringer for less of a poor game than the Sabres had.

So, Buffalo fans, it is back to the same mediocrity we have seen for two full seasons with our beloved Sabres.

Until Ruff is shown the door and a coach with a set of balls is hired, we shall suffer though just more of the same nonsense we are seeing now.

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