Feb 20, 2013, 3:39 PM EDT
On Wednesday, the Buffalo Sabres fired head coach Lindy Ruff, ending his reign as the longest active tenured bench boss in the NHL, and second-longest in North American professional sports.
Ruff took over in Buffalo on July 21, 1997, from Ted Nolan, becoming just the 15th head coach in franchise history.
To put his longevity in perspective — from the time Ruff was hired to the time he was fired, there were 170 different NHL coaching changes.
His tenure as head coach is longer than the history of four NHL franchises (Nashville, Columbus, Minnesota and Atlanta/Winnipeg.)
Ruff also held a distinct mark within the world of pro sports. Of the “big four” in North America — MLB, NHL, NFL and NBA — he was second only to Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs (who has been at the helm since Dec. 10, 1996).
With Ruff’s firing, Nashville Predators head coach Barry Trotz moves into first among active NHL coaches — he took over on Aug. 6, 1997 — and second among all active coaches in the aforementioned big four.
Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles Angels (1999), Bill Belichick, New England Patriots (2000), Ron Gardenhire, Minnesota Twins (2002), Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals (2003) and Doc Rivers, Boston Celtics (2004).
In terms of NHL coaches, the next longest-tenured are Trotz, Detroit’s Mike Babcock (2005), Vancouver’s Alain Vigneault (2006) and Boston’s Claude Julien (2007).
But back to Ruff, and a list of his accomplishments in 16 seasons on the job:
— 571 wins with Sabres, second-most by a head coach with a single franchise, trailing only Al Arbour (Islanders, 740).
— 2006 Jack Adams winner for NHL coach of the year.
— 1999 Eastern Conference champion, Stanley Cup finalist.
— 2007 Presidents’ Trophy.
— Eight playoff appearances.
— Two Northeast Division banners.
— 57-44 playoff record. Most playoff wins of any Sabres head coach.
The Sabres have yet to name a replacement. GM Darcy Regier will address the media at 5 p.m. ET.
Apr 1, 2015, 11:25 AM EDT
New York’s first-round pick in 2012 will reportedly join AHL Hartford.
Apr 1, 2015, 10:56 AM EDT
Vancouver forward was given a five-minute interference major on the play.
Apr 1, 2015, 10:49 AM EDT
Caps Radio 24/7 provides “a sense of community among our fan base, with players and fans alike contributing to its content.”
Apr 1, 2015, 10:47 AM EDT
Understatement: the odds are against both teams.
Apr 1, 2015, 9:37 AM EDT
Philly’s beaten its local rival six times in a row.
Apr 1, 2015, 8:36 AM EDT
Also: Alex Ovechkin’s peerless goal-scoring work and other links.
Apr 1, 2015, 1:41 AM EDT
Could the Vancouver forward be facing further discipline from the league?
Apr 1, 2015, 1:17 AM EDT
Tampa Bay is in a battle for the Atlantic Division.
Apr 1, 2015, 12:40 AM EDT
No call on that play.
Apr 1, 2015, 12:04 AM EDT
That’s big for Ottawa.
Mar 31, 2015, 11:31 PM EDT
This was an eventful game.
Mar 31, 2015, 10:57 PM EDT
Could supplemental discipline be on the way?
Mar 31, 2015, 10:09 PM EDT
Florida had the lead in the third period.
Mar 31, 2015, 9:38 PM EDT
Could Vancouver’s veteran defenseman be looking at a suspension?
Mar 31, 2015, 8:58 PM EDT
Scored 32 goals in 37 games this season.
Mar 31, 2015, 8:13 PM EDT
Mar 31, 2015, 7:59 PM EDT
Joins Bossy, Gretzky, Dionne, Lafleur and Lemieux.
Mar 31, 2015, 7:49 PM EDT
3rd-round pick if it happens after the season, 2nd-rounder if it happens in-season.
Mar 31, 2015, 6:59 PM EDT
University of Minnesota blueliner inching closer to free agency.
Mar 31, 2015, 6:41 PM EDT
So the Hart will not, as some have suggested, become the Gretzky.
- NHL on NBCSN: Flyers won’t fool with Penguins on Rivalry Night 11
- ‘Could’ve broken his neck,’ says Vigneault of Byfuglien cross check on Miller 56
- Video: Byfuglien gets away with ugly cross check, penalized late in Jets loss to Rangers 32
- Video: Lucic scores late winner, Bruins deal crushing blow to Panthers playoff hopes 9
- Video: Ovi becomes sixth player in history to record six 50-goal seasons 18
- ‘Almost like a game seven tonight’ for Bruins, Panthers 15
- Report: Warrant issued for Deveaux’s arrest following Swedish league attack 48
- How bad are things for the Kings after Monday? 22
- Lightning clinch playoff berth, but did they lose Hedman? 9
- Blackhawks tease good injury news for Kane 8