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 3, 2015, 2:17 PM EST
News and notes from around the crease…
Mar 3, 2015, 2:16 PM EST
He didn’t sign with them to lose.
Mar 3, 2015, 1:32 PM EST
Ex-Dallas winger could open up playing alongside the Detroit captain.
Mar 3, 2015, 1:10 PM EST
“Is it his fault we’re losing? No. Did he build this team? No.”
Mar 3, 2015, 12:28 PM EST
“Matt’s priority is to remain in Anaheim for many years to come. Hopefully we can make that happen.”
Mar 3, 2015, 11:56 AM EST
Sens are making a run in the East, but it’s still the Bruins’ spot to lose.
Mar 3, 2015, 11:06 AM EST
“Players would have to come to me.”
Mar 3, 2015, 10:55 AM EST
The other new guy, Sean Bergenheim, will play with Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle.
Mar 3, 2015, 10:41 AM EST
The two squads will play again on Sunday.
Mar 3, 2015, 10:35 AM EST
Plenty of roster spots to be filled in Buffalo after yesterday’s deadline.
Mar 3, 2015, 9:57 AM EST
Is this a sign of what they should expect to face as free agents?
Mar 3, 2015, 9:11 AM EST
This was a key win for San Jose.
Mar 3, 2015, 8:56 AM EST
Tampa Bay needs to get hot to challenge the Atlantic Division-leading Montreal Canadiens.
Mar 3, 2015, 8:00 AM EST
Tuesday’s collection of links.
Mar 2, 2015, 11:23 PM EST
Kimmo Timonen and Antoine Vermette made their debuts.
Mar 2, 2015, 10:49 PM EST
San Jose beat Montreal 4-0 on Monday.
Mar 2, 2015, 9:56 PM EST
An impressive effort for a team going all-in.
Mar 2, 2015, 9:03 PM EST
Then again, Taylor Beck’s helper might have been better.
Mar 2, 2015, 8:14 PM EST
He’ll pair with Sergei Gonchar to start.
Mar 2, 2015, 7:31 PM EST
Adding versatility in a tough West.
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