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Stars' Ruff has little time to celebrate milestone win

Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 12:30 AM / NHL Insider

By Steve Hunt - NHL.com Correspondent

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Stars' Ruff has little time to celebrate milestone win
With the Dallas Stars' 3-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Monday, Stars coach Lindy Ruff became the 12th coach in NHL history to reach 600 career victories.

DALLAS -- With the Dallas Stars' 3-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night at American Airlines Center, Stars coach Lindy Ruff became the 12th coach in NHL history to reach 600 career victories.

However, Ruff had little time to savor his milestone win.

After hanging on to beat the Sabres, the Stars boarded a plane and will visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.

"I had some real good teams … a Presidents' Trophy team [in 2006-07 with Buffalo]," Ruff said. "Those wins for the most part belong to the guys on the ice who go out and get them for you. To me, we needed that two points to help move up the standings. It was the most important thing."

Ruff's coaching career began in Buffalo in 1997-98 and he was victorious in his debut when the Sabres won 3-1 at the St. Louis Blues on Oct. 1, 1997. Ruff won 571 games behind the Buffalo bench before being relieved of his duties in Feb. 2013.

He was hired to help turn around the Stars, who have missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs each of the past five seasons. Through 61 games, he has Dallas occupying the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference with 68 points, two points ahead of the Winnipeg Jets, who currently occupy the ninth spot.

Rookie forward Alex Chiasson scored the game-winner for Dallas against the Sabres to help give Ruff win No. 600. Even though his goal went in off his shin guard instead of his stick, he was nonetheless happy to help Ruff join such an elite group.

"It was definitely big for Lindy," Chiasson said. "When you look at the numbers, he's won 600 in the League. I think that means you've been around for quite a bit and you've been successful. We're happy for him and definitely to win against his old team makes it a lot better."

Ruff clearly downplayed the significance of beating his former team. But despite his self-deprecating humor in his postgame press conference, it was clear how much this victory meant to him, even if the significance of 600 wins had yet to fully sink in.

"It means I'm on my way to 700," Ruff said. "I said to somebody probably 30 more losses and I've got 500 of those too."

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We want to make sure that whoever makes our team really makes our team by earning it and not putting them in situations where they get preference because of their status as a first-round pick or whatever it might be. That's not going to happen. Everybody has to earn their way on our team.

— Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen on the team's prospects at development camp