Niagara Gazette


February 20, 2013

DUVALL: Too bad Ruff Era had to end like this


Niagara Gazette — "I totally understand it," Ruff replied with more than a hint of resignation. "I'm embarrassed."

Something of a cottage industry has cropped up among local media searching for the cleverest metaphor for the length of Ruff's tenure. (My contribution: He's outlasted one-and-a-half popes.) But wrapped up in the snark and genuine reflection is this hard truth: For 16 seasons, Ruff and the Sabres have hit various low points. By virtue of their decision to can a coach who's practically a hockey god in Buffalo, the Sabres have acknowledged they're at their lowest point in a generation.

Of course that isn't exactly true. The Rigas affair, the bankruptcy, the months when Gary Bettman stood in lieu of an owner, losing Drury and Briere. Those were all pretty bad.

So what makes this different?

For starters, this latest catastrophe is clearly on Ruff's head. It was his job to get players on the same page. For reasons unknown to anyone outside that fancy new locker room — and probably to a degree unknown to those on the inside, too — he failed.

Ruff was given a 16-year leash largely because everyone — three owners, all those players, media, the fans — acknowledged there simply wasn't a better guy to coach the Buffalo Sabres. In hindsight, the only way Lindy Ruff was ever going to lose his job was if it became apparent anyone would be better.

Tapping Ron Rolston as Ruff's interim replacement for the remainder of this season makes sense. It's a long enough job interview that they'll know what they've got in him. He'll provide a measure of continuity in a season where hope isn't entirely dead, but is certainly on life support. He also offers a fresh set of eyes on a roster that has far more talent than their combined efforts reflect in the standings.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page