Even though the Sabres missed the playoffs for the third time in the last five years, team president Ted Black is sticking by head coach Lindy Ruff and GM Darcy Regier.
“They’ll be back next season,” Black told the Buffalo News. “I didn’t see a need to do anything otherwise at this juncture. We spent the better part of this week planning next year.”
On one hand, retaining Ruff and Regier makes sense. They’re the NHL’s longest-tenured coach/GM duo and, over the last 16 seasons, have developed a solid working relationship.
On the other hand…
Several Buffalo players — Ryan Miller and Jason Pominville most notably — have called this season a “step back” for the organization after back-to-back opening round playoff losses. There were also the comments of Derek Roy, who didn’t take too kindly to Ruff blasting the team to the media after it was eliminated from the playoffs:
“To be pointing fingers now is obviously tough. Behind closed doors, I think it’s fine. You can be hard. It’s not fun, but it’s good to be hard on your players behind closed doors, on the bench to get them pumped up.
“I’m not a coach, but I don’t think it’s the right thing to be saying it to the media.”
That said, Black appears to be looking at things on a larger scale. He was impressed by Regier’s ability to acquire players both via free agency (see: Ehrhoff, Christian) and trades (see: Regehr, Robyn, who waived his no-trade). Black also liked what he saw down the stretch, when Ruff rallied the team from last in the Eastern Conference to within three points of the eighth and final playoff spot.
I think you can guess we like the trades and the free agent signings,” Black said of Regier. “I think the things that he has done have been pretty solid.”
As for Ruff?
“I didn’t hear any player suggest that they can’t work with the coach,” Black said.