It was a unique, emotional day at First Niagara Center. YNN's Don Heins has a look at Lindy Ruff's final day as coach of the Sabres.
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BUFFALO, N.Y. — For Lindy Ruff, Wednesday began with the makings for a memorable one - just in a different way. The head coach of 16 years took an opportunity to address a group of high school hockey players who were visiting the First Niagara Center in advance of their championship games early next week.
“You're going to have fun with it. It's a great opportunity to play in one of the best buildings in the league,” he said.
From there, Ruff led the Sabres through perhaps the most strenuous practice of the season.
Tuesday night, he had eluded that some changes may be on the way for the Sabres.
“We have to take a hard look at everything, is what we have to do. We really do.”
And also after practice on Wednesday:
“If we're going to be like this, it isn't working the way we're going. I think that indication today is that we're going to have to try some things, and that's what we're talking about. Thanks,” Ruff said.
Little did we know, he walked out of that room for the final time as head coach. Turns out that change was him.
“Unfortunately, the coaches too often pay the price,” said Darcy Regier, Sabres General Manager. “It's something that I not only avoided, but made every effort to avoid in the past. Unfortunately, it just didn't transfer to the ice. For whatever reason, we couldn't get any traction, especially defensively. He felt at times that it was, I don't want to say confusing. It was really hard to get a finger on, to get a grip on.”
And now we begin a new era - with Ron Rolston as head coach.