In scanning Twitter the other day, I had noticed a Tweet from a different blog with the title “Did Lindy Ruff deserve better from the Sabres?”. After choking back the rage and bile, I decided there was no possible way I could read this piece without wanting to drive carpet tacks into the head of my dick repeatedly. Since I’m fairly new here, I don’t think I’ve discussed the absolute disgust I have for Lindy Ruff at any sort of length. If you've followed me on Twitter for awhile, you won't be surprised by what's below - I loathe the man as much as the city insanely loved him. So let’s dig in a little.
First off, I don’t understand the thinking that this guy got a raw deal from the Sabres. Let’s be brutally honest, the guy should have been fired YEARS before last season. He was afforded multiple chances, with about 3 different sets of core players, 3 ownership groups, and 2 different sets of rules to get the job done here. I think that’s a fair shake. 15 years is about 8 times the lifespan of the average NHL coach. (I didn’t actually look this up, it’s a guesstimate) On what fucking planet isn’t this a “fair shake”?? There were plenty of times you could watch a Sabres game and see a listless, boring team going through the motions. Most every player who’s left here has had nothing kind to say about his coaching tactics, not to mention the guys who spoke up when he left here.
Paul Gaustad, who inexplicably got about 72 minutes of ice time a night in Buffalo is currently the most overpaid 4th line center in the entire league. Props to Lindy here though, he propped this guy up so hard that some franchise gave up a first round pick for him – incidentally, that franchise is also coached by a guy who’s had a job for 15 years and never won dick.
We can further debate case studies of ex-players and what not, but it’s not getting me where I want this piece to go. Monday was Ruff’s first return to Buffalo as head coach of the 15th place in the West Dallas Stars. There was a ton of emotion surrounding this event, and for good reason. Like him or not, the guy is a pretty integral part of Sabres history. He deserved something acknowledging his 15 year tenure as coach, although I think it went a little bit overboard considering they chose to ignore Jason Pominville’s return a few weeks ago. Perhaps the backlash from that led to more of a display for Lindy, but I doubt that. I think it has to do with the boner that Terry Pegula gets over guys from the past history of the team.
The fan reaction is what really bothers me the most though. Most Sabres fans still latch onto this guy like he’s fucking Scotty Bowman or something. Those 4 or 5 times he really lashed out at the media or another coach are vividly imprinted in the blue collar psyche of Buffalo sports fans. The other 1000 games were filled with staring off into space, arms folded, throwing Gaustad and Mair on the ice with a minute left in a tie game while Thomas Vanek sat on the bench because he didn’t backcheck one time.
Ruff the player was just as unimpressive as Ruff the coach. Middling winger/defenseman who didn’t do anything great, was better known for a fight with Billy Smith than he was for scoring a big goal or captaining the team to any meaningful sort of finish. He also pouted like a giant bitch and forfeited said captaincy over some butthurt about being scratched one time.
This is the guy that Buffalo reveres. An average coach, an average player, fluffed up by “tough guy” narratives to almost legendary status. Despite the fact that he definitely quit on the team as a player, and mailed in the end of his run as coach too. It’s the same reason people love Steve Ott as captain. Or the people who suck Ruff's dick the same day they were gald to be rid of "lazy floater" Thomas Vanek. It’s the identity of the Buffalo community.
Personally, I’d rather not celebrate that HE TRIES REALLY HARD AND OOOOH JUST FELL SHORT mentality. Which is why I gave zero fucks about the return of the guy who’s been the mascot for decades of milquetoast, wishy-washy hockey. Keep cheering for Lindy to come back and lead us to 15 more years of futility, maybe the next time he’ll just quit on us again instead of finally being given what he really deserved for all his years of service.
- You can follow me on Twitter at @essbeeay