Ruff still in tune with Sabres
When the Penguins fell into a funk early this season, a faction of fans wanted Dan Bylsma kicked out of town.
Excusing the coach from his duties is a way of life in the NHL, and in Penguins history, coaches are dismissed with particular frequency.
But which approach is best: firing a coach every couple of years or riding one guy for the duration?
Ask the Buffalo Sabres, and they'll tell you the Penguins would be wise to keep Bylsma for a long, long time. The Sabres have enjoyed terrific success under Lindy Ruff, the league's longest-tenured coach.
"Everyone always wants to blame the coach for everything when things go wrong," Buffalo's Jason Pominville said. "But you know what• It usually isn't the coach's fault, and there's something to be said for having this kind of stability."
Ruff has been with Buffalo since 1997, and his players swear by him.
"He has a tremendous energy and tremendous knowledge," the Sabres' Derek Roy said. "We have always fed off it."
It is largely believed that the refreshing presence of Bylsma was instrumental in the Penguins' 2009 Stanley Cup run. Such surges wouldn't seem likely from a team playing under a coach who has been around for more than 13 years, but the Sabres believe Ruff is more in tune with his team than ever.
Exhibit A came Tuesday, the day before the Penguins visited the HSBC Arena. With local news cameras rolling during practice, Ruff voiced his displeasure with the power play by launching an array of expletives that made for priceless video.
"That's his way of keeping things fresh," Roy said with a smile.
Bylsma has something that Ruff doesn't: The coach won the Stanley Cup after only four months on the job. Ruff is still looking to lead his team to the championship, coming closest in 1999, when Brett Hull's controversial goal gave Dallas the Stanley Cup.
Even though he hasn't led the Sabres to that elusive title, Ruff's reputation continues to grow. He is the Jerry Sloan of the NHL, a coach who is universally respected.
"I think that he's been there so long and had so much success say something of his ability to adapt to the game and to adapt to his current roster," the Penguins' Matt Cooke said. "Everyone has respect for him."
The NHL is a copycat league. After the Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers fired coaches in midseason and then reached the Final, other teams will try to follow the same path. But Buffalo is perfectly fine with Ruff and continues to have faith in him.
"He brings a lot," Roy said. "You can't say enough good things about him."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Shopping season starts up for Penguins amid onset of free agency
- Penguins notebook: Sheary hoping to return to organization
- Downie, Ehrhoff lead list of likely Penguins leaving in free agency
- Shopping season begins for Penguins amid onset of free agency
- Scouts think Penguins could regain luster with minor tinkering
- Penguins bringing back defenseman Cole with 3-year extension
- Photo gallery: Penguins 1st-round draft choices
- Johnston, assistants reflect on 2014-15 season
- No team did less than Penguins at NHL Draft
- Penguins intend to sign Russian winger Plotnikov, target Tikhonov
- Penguins still in Kessel sweepstakes