Niagara Gazette

Sports

February 20, 2013

Sabres fire longtime coach Lindy Ruff after poor start to 16th season

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Ruff entered this season, shortened to 48 games following the latest work stoppage league-wide, with a different attitude. He was more patient with players, at least vocally. He learned from some of the comments players made last year following locker clean out day after missing the playoffs.

Former center Derek Roy was critical of Ruff and his approach to handling the players in the room. Roy was later traded to the Dallas Stars and Ruff came to work attempting to change the persona he'd created in the past.

Wednesday's change didn't happen because the experiment failed, and Regier said Ruff trying to reinvent himself was a risk he needed to take. Ultimately, it didn't pay off, though, as the team compiled a 6-10-1 record through its first 17 games.

It's eerily similar to what's happened in both of the previous two seasons and Regier said there needed to be a change.

"You have no choice," Regier said. "Either you have to change the people or the people have to change. It doesn't matter what we do, it's about growth. If you don't embrace it, don't try to find ways to become better, and with that, unfortunately in this case, I think it created a risk that didn't pay off.

"He didn't lose the team in any way in respect to communication. There were huge strides in that area. Unfortunately, it didn't translate to the ice. And for whatever reason, we couldn't get any traction, especially defensively. He felt at times ... it was hard to get a grip on."

INSIDE • Fans react to Ruff's firing Wednesday afternoon. SPORTS, 1B • Will the move pay immediate dividends on the ice? SPORTS, 1B

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