Over his 15-year tenure, Ruff’s job has been called for a number of times. Fans on the radio and message boards have typically been those leading the pitchfork mob, but the media has even begun to levy more criticism against Lindy Ruff as of late.
Most notably, Ruff’s players have come out to question some of the methods he has become known for. Derek Roy and Ville Leino’s locker clean out day remarks were the two that stood out the most in terms of questioning their coach’s approach.
There was a lot of pieces that were kind of out of place,” Leino said. “Also, they’ve got to work with what they were given. We have a lot of good players and we’re a good team, which we proved at the end. We just didn’t get that chemistry and all that right away at the start, and it was probably too late.
Coaches do most of the work, and obviously players want to be better, too. I think we’ve just got to get more out of everybody, which we did at the end. It doesn’t matter who plays if you don’t get their talents out. You’ve got to try to use everybody with what they’re best at. ~ Ville Leino
Terry Pegula and Ted Black have voiced their support for Ruff and Darcy Regier many times. Black all but confirmed the two would be back for 2012-13 at the All-Star break. When it was announced they would return, there wasn’t too much surprise. However, the long stretch of listless hockey last year and ultimately missing the playoffs has brought more heat on the Sabres’ bench boss. Ruff has been coated with Teflon for a long time. However, it seems as if his coating is starting to wear out.
The base of this argument centers around the fact that the Sabres have not won enough hockey games the last few seasons. As most are quick to point out, the Sabres haven’t won a playoff series since 2007. They also failed to make the playoffs last season and suffered through a season-long string of inconsistent play and injuries.
While Lindy Ruff certainly isn’t the only person to blame for the struggles the Sabres suffered through last year, he is certainly part of the puzzle. Ruff didn’t seem capable of righting the ship at various times. He certainly didn’t sit idly by as the Sabres took a nose dive, it just seemed as if he wasn’t capable of finding the answers with the players provided to him. With reports from people on, or close to the team (like Paul Hamilton) that players had begun to tune him out.
Ruff’s ability to utilize his players properly has long been a knock against him, but usually it was centered on his underutilization back-up goaltenders. The 2011-12 season brought out a mob of fans who felt he wasn’t capable of getting the most out of his scorers as well. Personally, I think this may be Ruff’s greatest failing. Continue reading