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Ruff on Joining Coaching Staff: 'It's Great to Be Back'

by New York Rangers @NYRangers /

Lindy Ruff spoke to after being named an assistant coach ahead of the 2017-18 season

How did this opportunity come to be:

First, Scott Arniel and I had coached together, worked together and played together and had success. He asked me what I was going to do and then at what point said would you be interested in a position like this.

Were there any questions you had about the position and joining the staff?

The first thing I'd have to do is talk to Alain. How it would work, how he would feel, etc. Obviously I think that any coach in this business can still learn. We can learn from each other and I am treating it that way. It can be a great learning experience, and on the other side of it, I think I have a lot to offer after coaching from 20 years and through the experiences I've had.

We (me and Alain) met up in Ottawa and discussed the opportunity at length. It's something I thought long and hard about and thought why not? I love the game, I'm a former Ranger, why wouldn't I do it? There are no head coaching positions available at the time. My goal is to get back behind the bench as a head coach, but for this year I am going to relish the opportunity to work with a couple other great coaches. It means a lot. I wasn't there long, but as a player you cherish every minute you play in the league. I'm a small town boy coming from Western Canada and to go and play probably on the greatest stage in our league, for me it was special. It holds a place in my heart and it's great to be back.

On The Outlook for the Rangers defense:

I think the best thing that you can do is play these players to their strengths. It's a little bit of a retooling. There's some young guys coming in, there's some young guys taking on bigger roles. You've got a Shattenkirk who has been one of the best offensive defenseman and one of the best power play defenseman. I think it's going to be through conversations this summer where we're really trying to decide what is the strength and how we want to play with this group.

What do you think you can bring to the team this year:

I just think it's going to be the different experiences that you deal with during the year that you bring to the table. I had 16 years in the east and then went 4 years out in the west, now I'm back in the east again and I've seen some different systems. I think that there are things that have worked playing in the west, obviously we were one of the top offensive teams out there. I think we did certain things to make us a good offensive team and I think those ideas coupled with what we want to do as a team here, I've got stuff to offer in those areas.

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