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Breaking Lindy Ruff’s Spirit

10/28/10
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(There is a piece with similar subject matter on my own blog here.)

I think most of us can agree that something seems different about Lindy Ruff in recent years. This isn’t the guy that took a seven seed to the Cup Finals, and it isn’t the guy that sent a bunch of goons after Spezza and co.

This is a guy who makes excuses for his team when something bad happens. Like it’s okay little Sabres, Vanek/Pominville/Miller got hurt, it’s HARD to play through that. Well shit, other teams do it just fine.

Lindy Ruff has a broken spirit. It’s kind of sad really, but who can blame him? The guy has had literally everything possible go wrong for him. Consider his history:

  • In 1999, he watches his team lose a Stanley Cup on a goal that should have been disallowed.
  • In 2000, he sees John Leclaire score an inexplicable goal through the side of the net…and get upheld.
  • In 2001, he watches Darius f***ing Kasparitus send the Sabres home on one of the shittiest goals in playoff history after the Penguins beat the Sabres twice in overtime to close out the series.
  • In 2001 he watches probably the second best player in Sabres history dick his way out of Buffalo.
  • In 2002 the Sabres look like they might move or fold.
  • In 2006, he takes possibly the best team in Sabres history to the Eastern Conference finals only to be done in by injuries to Tim Connolly and four starting defensemen.
  • In 2007, the Sabres win the President’s trophy only to fall short for the second straight year in the Eastern Conference Finals.
  • In 2007, the Sabres fail to resign both Chris Drury and Daniel Briere.
  • In 2008, the Sabres miss the playoffs the season after winning the president’s trophy.
  • In 2009, the Sabres are primed for another playoff run when Scott Gomez injures Ryan Miller late in the season.
  • In 2010, the Sabres up one game to none, take a two goal lead on the Boston Bruins in game two only to watch Johnny Boychuk take out Thomas Vanek, and the lead, and the series slip away.

It’s a depressing history that would have killed weaker men.  Hell, it’s nearly killed us as fans.  I think in 2007, when Daniel Briere and Chris Drury left, a little bit of Lindy Ruff died.  A little bit of him started to think that he would never be a winner, that something would always be there to stand in his way, be it an unenforced rule, shitty netting, or a staph infection to one of his best defensemen.

After that year, the team ceased to be known as “the hardest working team in hockey.”  Players stopped standing up for one another.  Other teams started taking liberties with our guys without fear of retribution.  Some part of our hockey team was lost.

This can go one of two ways.  Lindy Ruff could be damaged goods.  His tenure in Buffalo may have been played out for years, and this team is only going to underachieve until he’s sent packing.

OR

Something needs to happen to jar him out of the stupor he’s been in for the past four years.  Something or someone needs to start shaking the new Lindy Ruff until the old one comes back.  We’re some of the best fans in hockey…can’t we do that?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 10/28/10 1:29 AM

    I think you want to be careful projecting thoughts like when you say a little bit of him started to think that he would never be a winner. It’s just an unconvincing way to make a point. Otherwise this is a strong post. I’m commenting and I wouldn’t have if I thought this was done poorly. What I mean to say is, good job.

  2. 10/28/10 2:28 AM

    It’s more a continuation of the “I think…” from the sentence previous than a reading of Lindy Ruff. I guess I could have used a semicolon, but the sentence was long enough already.

  3. 10/28/10 2:41 AM

    Great post. You make some great points. This team is DEFINITELY not the same team that went after Ottawa in 07. And it’s sad. Sometimes it feels as if they are just playing to get to the end of the 3rd period. It’s like they’ve lost the “pep in their step”, and Ruff just goes and makes excuses for them. It’s sad, but I really do think its time for a new coach if they can’t turn this around in say, the next 5 games. Ruff just doesn’t seem to know how to motivate them anymore. I’ve been behind Lindy for as long as possible, but I think this is the final breaking point. This team has so much more potential than what they are showing. I, for one, would love to see some of that potential, and SOON.

  4. Don permalink
    10/28/10 10:50 AM

    Very valid post dude and unfortunately, it’s all true. Something happened to Lindy along the way and not for the greater good. This passive approach to how the season has started off, much like recent seasons past is not the Lindy we would have seen 4-5 years ago. Hell, even 3 years ago. He needs to do what he claims isn’t him anymore. I believe it was after the game regarding the Hjalmarsson hit when he said, “In previous years I would have been up, jumping, screaming and yelling and stuff like that. I’m not like that anymore”. There is a time to show a emotion, and it’s plays like that when the time is right. I’m not talking about acting like a caged silverback behind the bench, but if the coach doesn’t show any emotion other than, “Woe is me”, how can you expect the players to act like they have any kind of fire in their bellies? I think that could be why some players play more for themselves as opposed within the, “System”. People can say that the players are earning ridiculous amounts of cash and that should be all the incentive they need to play well. In my eyes, that is when you’re going to see players mailing in their efforts as opposed to giving every shift 110%. Forget winning a period or a game, these players need to win every shift they play. To do it, you need to have a voice behind you with some fire in it.

    Maybe Ruff just doesn’t have the drive anymore? Maybe it is a case of “Why bother, trying never got us to the promise land in the past” or maybe he’s eating a more balanced diet? If that is the case, someone get that bottle of prune juice out of his hands and start pumping Power-Thirst into his morning coffee. I want the old Lindy Ruff back!

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