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Ruff's best performance of his tenure

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04-27-2011, 12:16 AM
  #1
jBuds
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Ruff's best performance of his tenure

Without a doubt, this season was Ruff's best in terms of maximizing his roster and using whatever tools he had at a given time to "start fire."

No, the end result wasn't what we wanted. No, the team wasn't a powerhouse. But I think there is a lot to be said about his job behind the bench this season, most notably the turnaround we saw as the season progressed.

I ask: are there still people out there who want to see him replaced?

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04-27-2011, 12:24 AM
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I certainly don't want Ruff gone. But I don't think this was his best year. And yes all things considered.

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04-27-2011, 01:13 AM
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You can't blow a two 2 goal leads at home in a clinching game and have your job 100% secure.

I'm not sure half the bright spots of the year happen due to Ruff's own volition, but with backs to the wall, he did a great job getting this team to the playoffs.

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04-27-2011, 01:19 AM
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Like the stars of the team, he's both elite and inconsistent.

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04-27-2011, 01:20 AM
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It's partially Ruff's fault that we were in such a mess back in December. Therefore, I'm not going to give him more credit than he deserves because he improved from that point on. He's a good coach and I'm hesitant to let him go but I do not see this team winning a cup with him. He's far too devoted to his system and to certain players to ever adjust enough for a real cup run. He was absurdly passive during this playoff series when he was behind the bench and watching Laviolette was a revelation. I didn't realize how much a coach could affect the flow of a game by badgering the ref. Ruff just refused to do it and it got ridiculous.

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04-27-2011, 01:22 AM
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The way the sabres had to slot in replacements throughtout the year, the way they had to fill holes all the time and still getting into the playoffs taking one of the dominating teams in the east to 7 games is a remarkable feat. Ruff had to change the lineup constantly and at the very end it finally cost them as they couldn't compensate the injuries anymore.

But the emergence of certain players like Gerbe, Gragnani and the reemergence of Vanek can be contributed to Ruff as well. With an ever changing roster he pulled off almost what would have been possible. I think the second round would have been the best they could have done this year. They failed to reach that goal, but only by a small margin.

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04-27-2011, 02:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by struckbyaparkedcar View Post
You can't blow a two 2 goal leads at home in a clinching game and have your job 100% secure.

I'm not sure half the bright spots of the year happen due to Ruff's own volition, but with backs to the wall, he did a great job getting this team to the playoffs.
Young teams (especially on the back end) blow leads. That's life in hockey. Last year's NCAA coach of the year had his team blow similar leads (including 4-0 at home to the primary rival) - not because he suddenly became a ****** coach, but because he had 3 freshman defensemen in the defense.

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04-27-2011, 02:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buffalowing88 View Post
It's partially Ruff's fault that we were in such a mess back in December. Therefore, I'm not going to give him more credit than he deserves because he improved from that point on. He's a good coach and I'm hesitant to let him go but I do not see this team winning a cup with him. He's far too devoted to his system and to certain players to ever adjust enough for a real cup run. He was absurdly passive during this playoff series when he was behind the bench and watching Laviolette was a revelation. I didn't realize how much a coach could affect the flow of a game by badgering the ref. Ruff just refused to do it and it got ridiculous.
Wait....Laviolette was the better coach?

Laviolette almost singlehandedly cost him team the series with the significantly stronger team.

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04-27-2011, 07:33 AM
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I think Ruff is a good coach.
I'd like to see him more adaptable w/ goalie usage and be more proactive with how the powerplay is run and the guys on the units.

Other than those 2 things- I have almost no issue w/ him. Somehow it seems- he can always reach his players and his press conferences are definitely above average in the buzz word- catch phrase- say nothing era of today's sports.

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04-27-2011, 07:37 AM
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Despite the goaltending fiasco for the Flyers, Laviolette still outcoached Ruff. It took a few games, but the Flyers solved the Sabres "system", mostly with an aggressive forecheck, and the Sabres' coaching staff had no answers. In the last few games, the Sabres ceded control of the neutral zone to the Flyers, who were permitted to sail up ice unimpeded and consistently bury the Sabres deep in their zone.

You could tell from Lindy's pre-game comments before Game 7 that the Sabres were ready to pack it in. He talked about all of the players that they had lost, and how they had given him their all for four months. The message was clear: "You've had a nice run, boys. It is OK to surrender now." And so they did.

Has there ever been a team as unprepared for a Game 7 as this one? They came out scared and panicky. The Stanley Cup playoffs are as much a mental grind as a physical one. At some point, in many series, a team decides that it can't summon up the effort needed to prevail, and gives up. Certainly, the Flyers had better players. But they also had a greater will.

The Sabres need to take a hard look at some things. In the end, as has always been the case in the Regier-Ruff era, they were the softer, weaker team. The team has never developed strong, tough on-ice leadership in the time that Ruff has been the coach. Perhaps his dominating presence, or something about his style, prevents that from happening. Regier remains fascinated with soft finesses players who can't step up when the going gets tough. Brad Boyes is just the latest example. It may be time to turn the page and take a deifferent approach with some fresh sets of eyes.

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04-27-2011, 07:43 AM
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Sabres were softer in this series? Ok. Sure.

I also wasn't aware that the coaching staff was the problem when players forced passes and couldn't win puck battles on the walls. Thanks for enlightening us.

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04-27-2011, 07:48 AM
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Did you watch Game 7?

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04-27-2011, 07:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zero39 View Post
Despite the goaltending fiasco for the Flyers, Laviolette still outcoached Ruff. It took a few games, but the Flyers solved the Sabres "system", mostly with an aggressive forecheck, and the Sabres' coaching staff had no answers. In the last few games, the Sabres ceded control of the neutral zone to the Flyers, who were permitted to sail up ice unimpeded and consistently bury the Sabres deep in their zone.

You could tell from Lindy's pre-game comments before Game 7 that the Sabres were ready to pack it in. He talked about all of the players that they had lost, and how they had given him their all for four months. The message was clear: "You've had a nice run, boys. It is OK to surrender now." And so they did.

Has there ever been a team as unprepared for a Game 7 as this one? They came out scared and panicky. The Stanley Cup playoffs are as much a mental grind as a physical one. At some point, in many series, a team decides that it can't summon up the effort needed to prevail, and gives up. Certainly, the Flyers had better players. But they also had a greater will.

The Sabres need to take a hard look at some things. In the end, as has always been the case in the Regier-Ruff era, they were the softer, weaker team. The team has never developed strong, tough on-ice leadership in the time that Ruff has been the coach. Perhaps his dominating presence, or something about his style, prevents that from happening. Regier remains fascinated with soft finesses players who can't step up when the going gets tough. Brad Boyes is just the latest example. It may be time to turn the page and take a deifferent approach with some fresh sets of eyes.
I have to disagree with the bolded portion. We had strong, tough, clutch leadership at one point. Their names were Chris and Danny. Did Lindy let them go? No. Was it Darcy? I dont think so. Larry and Tom? YES.

Hopefully Mr. Pegula and company can bring in what the Sabres need to win.

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04-27-2011, 07:50 AM
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I would hardly consider making the playoffs and losing in the first round as Ruff's best performance. In fact, if you told me at the start of the year we would make the playoffs and lose in the first round, I would probably be calling for the heads of both Ruff and Regier.

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04-27-2011, 07:50 AM
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Did you watch Game 7?
Did you watch game 1 through 6?

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04-27-2011, 07:53 AM
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I would hardly consider making the playoffs and losing in the first round as Ruff's best performance. In fact, if you told me at the start of the year we would make the playoffs and lose in the first round, I would probably be calling for the heads of both Ruff and Regier.
He coached a team from dead last in the NHL into 7th place in about two months, which is difficult enough by itself, then pushed the defending eastern conference champs to 7 games with half an AHL roster.

I'd say that's a decent job.

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04-27-2011, 07:57 AM
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I like where your head's at, jBuds.

I think they played with everything they had, but between the mad dash to end the regular season, the injuries, the rook factor and the sheer difference in team talent, the kids couldn't close. It's tough to blame Ruff for the actual on-ice shortcomings (inability to clear the puck, making panic moves under Philly's forecheck, etc) that lead to our loss.

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04-27-2011, 08:13 AM
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He coached a team from dead last in the NHL into 7th place in about two months, which is difficult enough by itself, then pushed the defending eastern conference champs to 7 games with half an AHL roster.

I'd say that's a decent job.
"Decent" is a far cry from "best."

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04-27-2011, 08:20 AM
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"Decent" is a far cry from "best."
I didn't make the argument that it was the best. That was the OP. I just disagree that Ruff/Regier should be canned for it, as you said you would be in favor of.

I personally think it was a very good coaching performance, game 7 notwithstanding.

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04-27-2011, 08:38 AM
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I didn't make the argument that it was the best. That was the OP. I just disagree that Ruff/Regier should be canned for it, as you said you would be in favor of.

I personally think it was a very good coaching performance, game 7 notwithstanding.
But, but Ruff assured us at the start of the season that this team was built to win the Stanley Cup?

I'm not attacking you, just pointing out the wild rollercoaster ride our expectations have been on. And I'm not saying fire Ruff/Regier, just saying that a first round playoff exit is not the stuff legends or memorable seasons are made of.


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04-27-2011, 08:45 AM
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That's fair.

It's not overly memorable generally, but in the context of the direction the team was going, and where they ended up, I would say that's worth something.

Honestly, I think (generally) any series that goes 7 is an something to be proud of for the losing team. That's usually a sign of a even matchup, or the weaker team playing out of their mind. Shouldn't be ashamed of that at all.

If anything, this year will be remembered more for Pegula Year 0 than a 1st round exit.

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04-27-2011, 08:46 AM
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I think it's difficult to gauge the performance of a coaching staff like that. His year started off brutal, but he certainly made a nice rebound in the second half of the season. Overall I'm pretty satisfied with how the season went. I didn't expect them to do much more before the season started, and the second half of the season was extremely fun.

That said, if Ruff is sticking around, he desperately needs to get a different assistant coach to run his powerplay. Even though they put up middle of the pack numbers this season, the powerplay was just awful all around. I refuse to believe that's all on the players because the main problem they had was gaining entrance into the zone and setting up. That's all schemes and planning proper shoot ins. I don't have a problem with Ruff and his staff staying, but he really needs some help in this area.

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04-27-2011, 08:58 AM
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I think it's difficult to gauge the performance of a coaching staff like that. His year started off brutal, but he certainly made a nice rebound in the second half of the season. Overall I'm pretty satisfied with how the season went. I didn't expect them to do much more before the season started, and the second half of the season was extremely fun.

That said, if Ruff is sticking around, he desperately needs to get a different assistant coach to run his powerplay. Even though they put up middle of the pack numbers this season, the powerplay was just awful all around. I refuse to believe that's all on the players because the main problem they had was gaining entrance into the zone and setting up. That's all schemes and planning proper shoot ins. I don't have a problem with Ruff and his staff staying, but he really needs some help in this area.
Given that they had the #9 PP in the league--better than middle-of-the-pack--and they operated at a 22.6% clip in the playoffs, which would've been good for #5 in the regular season, I'm doubting that they view improving the PP as one of their top priorities. Especially when they'll likely have Gragnani being the full-time PPQB next season.

The PP is the source of much consternation, and the entries are left lacking--and they will have to be improved next season--but I don't think there's going to be a big PP overhaul or major schematic changes next season.

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04-27-2011, 08:59 AM
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'99 remains his best moments, getting a powerplay alight and being able to take that team to the Finals.

This was a good job, working with a roster who's issues are detailed elsewhere and any number of ridiculous injuries. But not his best, no.

It sucks that Pegula has already committed to the staff. They need another voice in there, someone who can work with the offense and powerplay in particular. I still want to know what Brian McCutcheon is good at...

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04-27-2011, 09:03 AM
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I guess that one could say that the coaching job was "decent" if one absolves Ruff of all responsibility for the dreadful start to the season. But, as far as I can remember, he was the coach then, too.

It all depends on expectations, I suppose. Barely squeaking into the playoffs and a first round exit isn't success for most teams, even when you play a good team even for six games before folding badly in game 7.

The worst thing that could happen would be for ownership to conclude that the team only needs minor tweaks. After all, we had that great 16-4-4 run and took the mighty Flyers to 7 games! As game 7 demonstrated, the Sabres have a long way to go.

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