Ruff hired by BUF

Lindy Ruff was named coach of the Buffalo Sabres on Monday.

The 64-year-old replaces Don Granato and returns to Buffalo for his second stint, having coached 15 seasons there from 1997-98 to 2012-13. He holds Sabres records for regular-season games (1,165), regular-season wins (571), Stanley Cup Playoff games coached (101) and playoff wins (57).

"I am thankful to (Sabres owner) Terry [Pegula], the Pegula family, and (general manager) Kevyn Adams for this opportunity," Ruff said. "This is a team ready to take the next step. I am both humbled and honored to be trusted to help this team win now."

Ruff has made the NHL postseason in each of his three coaching jobs with Buffalo, the Dallas Stars and the New Jersey Devils, including a 112-point finish with the Devils last season. He was fired by New Jersey on March 4 after going 128-125-28 in four seasons. His original contract was set to expire at the end of this season, but he signed a multiyear contract to remain coach prior to it.

The Sabres will open the 2024-25 season against the Devils at the 2024 NHL Global Series Czechia presented by Fastenal at O2 Arena in Prague on Oct. 4-5.

Granato, assistant coach Jason Christie and video coordinator Matt Smith were fired April 16 after the Sabres finished sixth in the Atlantic Division (39-37-6) and missed the playoffs for an NHL-record 13th consecutive season.

"It is not a job that I take lightly," Ruff said. "It is my goal to ensure that players believe in each other, play for each other and love being a Buffalo Sabre. There is no doubt that we all need to embrace the challenge ahead of us. The work starts today, and I could not be more excited."

Ruff will be Buffalo's sixth coach since he was replaced by Ron Rolston on Feb. 20, 2013.

"I am thrilled to welcome Lindy back as the head coach of the Buffalo Sabres," Adams said. "As I went through the hiring process, it quickly became clear Lindy was the person for the job. He has experience, a proven track record, familiarity with young players, and so much more."

Lindy Ruff hired as Sabres head coach

Ruff is 864-679-153 with 78 ties in 1,774 games over 23 NHL seasons, including four with the Stars (2013-17). He is fifth in NHL history in wins and games coached, and ranks second among active coaches in wins behind Paul Maurice of the Florida Panthers (869).

"I want to be clear though that this hire was not made with nostalgia in mind," Adams said. "Lindy is the right person for the job now and any history with our organization and community is simply an added bonus. I believe wholeheartedly that Lindy can help our team reach their goals and am excited to get to work with him."

The Sabres advanced to the 1999 Stanley Cup Final, losing in six games to the Stars, in Ruff's second season. He won the Jack Adams Award voted as NHL coach of the year in 2005-06 and was runner-up to Alain Vigneault of the Vancouver Canucks in 2006-07. As an assistant to Doug MacLean, Ruff helped the Panthers reach the Cup Final in 1996, when they were swept by the Colorado Avalanche.

Granato, 56, was 122-125-27 in 274 regular-season games over four seasons after being hired March 17, 2021, to replace Ralph Krueger.

The last time the Sabres qualified for the postseason was 2010-11, a seven-game loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, their fourth appearance in six seasons.

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