Buffalo Sabres fire head coach Lindy Ruff

After 16 years behind the bench with the Buffalo Sabres, Lindy Ruff is out as head coach, effectively ending the longest-running tenure of any active coach with one team in the NHL.

News surfaced Wednesday afternoon that Ruff had been let go by the Sabres after the team failed to make the playoffs last season and opened this year’s lockout-shortened canhl_g_lruff1_600mpaign with a dismal 6-10-1 start—good for 13th in the Eastern Conference.

“I think the last game was quite honestly a tipping point. And it was evident to me that we were searching for answers to too many questions,” general manger Darcy Regier said. “I think we were making some strides, but in the end, for every two steps forward, it was one step back, and sometimes not that.”

That tipping point was a 2-1 loss to the Winnipeg jets on Tuesday, a game in which the Sabres were turnover-prone and inconsistent at best. Fans booed their home-town Sabres on more than one occasion during the lackluster effort.

“Ultimately, it was my decision,” said Regier, who consulted with team owner Terry Pegula, team president Ted Black and senior adviser Ken Sawyer prior to Ruff’s firing. “I made the decision, but these things are not made in a vacuum.”

Ruff was officially named coach of the Sabres on July 21, 1997 and became the fracnhise’s winningest coach with a 571-432-162 record. Since his hire, there have been 17 coaching changes in the NHL.

Ron Rolston, who was promoted from the team’s AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans, will serve out the rest of the season as the team’s interim head coach. Regier said he will take the rest of the season to determine whether Rolston should take over the head coaching position permanently.

Rolston leaves the Rochester Americans in second place in the North Division and sixth place in the Western Conference. Last season, Rolston led the Americans to a 36-26-10-4 record and an appearance in the playoffs.

“His teams play with structure, discipline. They have a work ethic,” Regier said of Rolston. “He has them playing very good hockey, so I think you’ll see some of those traits.”


  1. Rolston is a former Michigan Tech guy so he will do real well with the big club. Also I noticed that Ruff has already made comments that he wants to coach again. Likey will be with a new club next year.

  2. Lindy was great coach for so many years.As much as I like him it is time for a change.New owner new manager now lets turn it around Buffalo

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