Feb 20, 2013, 3:39 PM EST
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.
Mar 8, 2014, 5:45 PM EST
Making a strong first impression in St. Louis.
Mar 8, 2014, 4:55 PM EST
Petr Mrazek will backup Jimmy Howard.
Mar 8, 2014, 4:28 PM EST
The Leafs have called up Frazer McLaren.
Mar 8, 2014, 3:49 PM EST
She had a 0.96 GAA and .954 save percentage in the Olympics.
Mar 8, 2014, 3:21 PM EST
He suffered the injury last Saturday.
Mar 8, 2014, 2:42 PM EST
He might not be ready for the start of the playoffs either, should Columbus get that far.
Mar 8, 2014, 1:58 PM EST
Guess who holds that record?
Mar 8, 2014, 1:16 PM EST
The Capitals drafted him in 2010, but he’s been playing in the KHL.
Mar 8, 2014, 12:58 PM EST
It will be his first start with Washington.
Mar 8, 2014, 12:15 PM EST
They were key players in Finland’s bronze medal run in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Mar 8, 2014, 11:32 AM EST
The Lightning are trying to get out of a rut just days after trading Martin St. Louis.
Mar 8, 2014, 10:40 AM EST
He’s open to continuing his career as a backup goaltender.
Mar 8, 2014, 9:51 AM EST
Ottawa has been underwhelming this season.
Mar 8, 2014, 9:03 AM EST
He hasn’t taken a penalty yet this season.
Mar 8, 2014, 2:05 AM EST
Marc-Andre Fleury was busy in this one.
Mar 8, 2014, 1:11 AM EST
On a special night for one of the franchise’s greats.
Mar 8, 2014, 12:24 AM EST
This is just…sick. But awesome, too.
Mar 8, 2014, 12:05 AM EST
Played nine seasons in Calgary.
Mar 7, 2014, 11:19 PM EST
Last shift came late in first period.
Mar 7, 2014, 11:03 PM EST
Goals, goals and more goals in this one.
- Ryan Murray has knee surgery, likely done for season 0
- Washington finally signs top prospect Kuznetsov 29
- Roberto Luongo records the shutout in first game back with Panthers 29
- Steve Moore remains shocked, disgusted about Todd Bertuzzi attack 63
- Canucks’ Kassian gets three games for boarding Dillon 27
- TGIF: Why Lightning fans can be upset with St. Louis 32
- Goalie nods: Luongo’s first game back with Panthers, Neuvirth makes Sabres debut 14
- Report: Kuznetsov terminated KHL deal, headed to Washington 21
- Canucks’ Bieksa: ‘If this isn’t rock bottom, I don’t know what is’ 34
- Luongo has Twitter fun at Canucks’ expense 37
- Canucks trade Luongo to Panthers (93)
- BLOCKBUSTER: Lightning trade St. Louis to Rangers for Callahan (82)
- Kings make splash, acquire Gaborik from Columbus (72)
- Report: Canucks want center, top prospect and first-rounder for Kesler (68)
- Sabres announce Pat LaFontaine resigns as president of hockey operations (66)