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 18, 2014, 7:04 PM EDT
The last of the first round series is about to begin.
Apr 18, 2014, 6:34 PM EDT
Montreal has a 1-0 series lead.
Apr 18, 2014, 6:17 PM EDT
This isn’t the first time he’s been fined.
Apr 18, 2014, 5:59 PM EDT
That’s a pretty bold statement, given that Nashville used to have blueliners like Kimmo Timonen and Ryan Suter.
Apr 18, 2014, 5:06 PM EDT
Apparently, the “Coyotes, Ducks, Kings, and Sharks are on board” with relocating their minor-league affiliates closer to home.
Apr 18, 2014, 4:31 PM EDT
The year was 1957…
Apr 18, 2014, 3:48 PM EDT
Unlike the last coach he had in Vancouver.
Apr 18, 2014, 2:59 PM EDT
Devante Smith-Pelley will draw in.
Apr 18, 2014, 2:27 PM EDT
30-year-old vet led the league in scoring.
Apr 18, 2014, 2:10 PM EDT
Usually he reserves that word for his own team.
Apr 18, 2014, 2:02 PM EDT
“It wasn’t very appropriate at all.”
Apr 18, 2014, 1:43 PM EDT
“It’s a good step,” he said.
Apr 18, 2014, 1:25 PM EDT
Apr 18, 2014, 12:53 PM EDT
Rookie goalie Frederik Andersen made 32 stops for Anaheim in Game 1.
Apr 18, 2014, 12:05 PM EDT
Catch the game tonight on NBCSN at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Apr 18, 2014, 11:59 AM EDT
Andrew Barroway has company in his pursuit of Charles Wang’s (pictured) Brooklyn-bound team.
Apr 18, 2014, 11:58 AM EDT
Suggesting they’ll hold onto the fifth overall selection at this year’s draft.
Apr 18, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT
That would be the gesture right there.
Apr 18, 2014, 11:18 AM EDT
More adversity for Tampa Bay.
Apr 18, 2014, 10:49 AM EDT
“Luckily he’s married.”
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