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.
May 24, 2013, 6:05 PM EDT
Kevin Prendergast (pictured) and longtime NHL netminder Ron Tugnutt were let go.
May 24, 2013, 5:08 PM EDT
“The NHL remains committed to securing the Coyotes’ future in Glendale under new ownership, and we believe Don’s long-term agreement evidences that he is equally committed,” said the deputy commish.
May 24, 2013, 4:28 PM EDT
He’s missed the entire series with a broken hand.
May 24, 2013, 4:27 PM EDT
Craig MacTavish has a few things he’d like in return.
May 24, 2013, 3:20 PM EDT
“Hopefully, we’ll find that chemistry,” says Spezza.
May 24, 2013, 3:14 PM EDT
Just a few days after turfing assistant coach Peter Horachek.
May 24, 2013, 2:51 PM EDT
Aside from, you know, facing elimination from the Stanley Cup playoffs.
May 24, 2013, 2:47 PM EDT
Chin up, rookie.
May 24, 2013, 2:11 PM EDT
Say hello to Curtis McElhinney.
May 24, 2013, 2:08 PM EDT
Torts not expected to make any lineup changes.
May 24, 2013, 1:51 PM EDT
Rangers’ blueliner saw plenty of action in Game 4, though.
May 24, 2013, 1:31 PM EDT
If so, do you like it?
May 24, 2013, 1:12 PM EDT
He was Guy Boucher’s right-hand man, so no huge surprise.
May 24, 2013, 12:59 PM EDT
The postgame comment that just won’t go away.
May 24, 2013, 12:40 PM EDT
The Red Wings’ star may go back to Russia after next season.
May 24, 2013, 11:48 AM EDT
Back in Vegas next year.
May 24, 2013, 11:15 AM EDT
Rare criticism for the Blackhawks’ captain.
May 24, 2013, 10:36 AM EDT
SKA Saint Petersburg would be the club.
May 24, 2013, 9:52 AM EDT
“(He’s) a hell of a hockey player.”
May 24, 2013, 9:02 AM EDT
He’s excited about the Avalanche’s future, but he also has other considerations.
- Maloney signs long-term contract as Coyotes GM 4
- Playoffs Tonight: Penguins aim to finish off Senators 16
- Kings’ Quick ‘didn’t have to work hard’ in shutout win over Sharks 7
- Discuss: Kings dominate Game 5, one win away from Western Conference final 21
- Discuss: Red Wings take 3-1 series lead 62
- Discuss: Rangers stay alive with OT win 85
- What they’re saying about the Avs hiring Patrick Roy 9
- It’s official: Colorado names Roy sixth head coach in franchise history 56
- Couture accuses Kings captain Brown of diving 38
- Three reasons why the Rangers might buy out Richards 26
- Report: NHLPA director Fehr wants to address issue of fighting (113)
- Question for commenters: What, if anything, needs to be done about the officiating? (101)
- Discuss: Bruins rally in third, take 3-0 series lead (99)
- Discuss: Detroit takes 2-1 series lead vs. Chicago (95)
- Video: Crosby scores hat trick, hits playoff milestone against Senators (91)
- Tiger, LeBron and bids to be the best that ever lived
- PBT: Pacers must take back paint to beat Heat
- PHT: Senators fight for playoff lives in Game 5
- HBT: A-Rod sells Miami home for $30 million
- PST: Key battles for Champions League final
- Struggling Blackhawks on brink of elimination
- PHT: Wings push Blackhawks to brink | Highlights