For most organizations, getting the "His job is safe, end of story" line is the kiss of death. But not here.
Ted Black Says Lindy Ruff Stays And Some Other Cool Things1
Well, apparently the head coaching gig in Buffalo is the topic du’jour. Giving up a 3 goal lead and having a shaky home record can do that to a fanbase.
Scott brought up the fact that we should at least be having the conversation about Lindy Ruff. Why is it verboten to speak of firing him? Yes, he’s been great and most of us love him – he’s sort of the patriarch of the Sabres organization and the rock of the family.
However … all good things come to an end. Even Scotty Bowman was fired. Of course that’s probably not a great example, as he went on to win Stanley Cups elsewhere.
See, this is the eternal debate. The team isn’t doing great so perhaps firing the head coach and bringing in a new guy will take us to the promised land. But what if Lindy Ruff is the guy for Buffalo and he isn’t really the problem? What if we fire him and he wins Stanley Cups with, I don’t know, let’s say Columbus after they fire Scott Arniel. Crazy, right? But it’s possible.
We can have this debate all year long, and it’s something that we should at least talk about. No one should be untouchable. However, it’s all moot at this point because as Tamara has pointed out, Terry Pegula adores Lindy and said that he’s not going anywhere.
Well now, if that’s not enough for you, Ted Black reinforced that point this morning in his weekly chat with WGR 550. You can listen to the full audio here. There are lots of great bits in the audio and we’ll transcribe and otherwise pick apart some of it.
[Howard Simon of WGR] How much of that (the Sabres’ philosophy of winning the Stanley Cup) includes the status of the head coach, the status of the GM and making a change in one or both of those spots if it’s necessary and is it necessary by they way?
[Ted Black] No it’s not, so it really renders the rest of the question moot.
[WGR] It’s not a moot question, don’t you think that’s an issue right now? You tell me, in your mind, in Terry Pegula’s mind there is no issue with coaching or GM at this point?
[WGR] How come?
[TB] Why well, there just isn’t. I don’t think Darcy or Lindy have injured as many players as have been injured. It’s not like we’re hopelessly out of the playoffs or hopelessly out of 1st place in our division or the conference.
Come on Ted, quit flip flopping and leaving wiggle room here. </snark> So the official word is hands down, Lindy isn’t going anywhere, he’s our guy, stop asking questions, there is no room for leeway on this matter, end of chat.
However, later in the interview he said, “We don’t live in always and never.” Ah, so you’re telling me there’s a chance!
(Yes! The second Dumb & Dumber reference in the same post! Give me some sort of imaginary blogger points! *fistpump*)
Some other snippets from the interview that should sit well with any Sabres fan:
- This team is dramatically better than it was last year and we’re not done yet. We’re going to use every opportunity to improve ourselves.
- On trades: You have to have a partner, and at certain points of the year there’s not a whole lot going on.
- When this team is healthy, this team is very, very good.
- We are going to win a Stanley Cup. It may not happen this year. It may very well happen this year. But we’re going to do it or die trying.”
- On the rash of injuries having a silver lining: [We’ve learned] that these young guys that had no track record going into this year can play in the league and play at a pretty decent level.
So it’s reiterated from on high that Lindy is here to stay – at least for the forseeable future. Whether that’s a good or bad thing we may never know.
I do know this: I love Ruff as a coach. He’s “our guy”. The Pittsburgh Steelers have had only 3 coaches in their history and there’s something I like about that. Sometimes you need that steady rudder to guide you when the storm is raging all around. Could we do better? Maybe. But it’s a chance I’m not willing to take at the moment, and neither are the Sabres.
next post: Octopush: Pond Hockey in Miami will Leave You… Breathless?