What's buzzing:

Puck Daddy

Lindy Ruff fired by Buffalo Sabres after 16 years as head coach

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

View photo

.

Getty Images

Lindy Ruff was the second-longest tenured coach in pro sports, behind Gregg Popovich of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs. He has coached 1,165 games in the National Hockey League, all of them with the Buffalo Sabres.

But Tuesday night’s 2-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets was his last with the franchise. The Sabres announced that after 16 years, what many Sabres fans thought was impossible has happened:

Lindy Ruff has been fired. As 170 coaches have been since he was hired on July 21, 1997.

He was seen as Teflon, escaping his demise every new campaign like James Bond from a villain’s clutches. The Sabres made the conference finals four times under Ruff, including a trip to the 1999 Stanley Cup Final. He won the Jack Adams in 2005-06. But they also missed the playoffs six times, most recently last season under new (and rather aggressive) owner Terry Pegula.

[Related: Sabres' Ryan Miller says 'Yeah, we deserve to get booed']

Two weeks ago, GM Darcy Regier told the Buffalo News that “it won’t be the coach” that paid for the Sabres’ 3-6-1 start.

Well, it was the coach.

The Sabres were in a tailspin, and Ruff seemed out of answers.

After practice on Wednesday -- which Ruff ran, by the way -- he said, "If we’re going to be like this, it isn’t working the way we’re going."

This lack of answers goes back to last season when it appeared the core of the team seemed to tire of Ruff’s act.

Derek Roy was one Sabres players that spoke up publicly about Ruff calling out his players after the season. He’s in Dallas now.

Previously, Ruff would survive starts like the Sabres’ 6-10-1 start. Regier would defend him, as he did, and Buffalo would scratch and claw its way to the playoff bubble.

But these are Terry Pegula’s Sabres. And despite his affinity for the coach – like all old-school Sabres – there’s a standard of excellence he’s demanded that isn’t close to being met. As he said at his introductory presser, two years ago on Friday:

"Starting today, the Buffalo Sabres' reason for existence will be to win a Stanley Cup.”

Ruff’s had his chances to win one. Now it’s someone else’s turn.

(By and by the way: For those who don't believe the fans have a voice in the NHL, this firing happened after the Sabres were lustfully booed on their home ice. Much like when the Toronto Maple Leafs heard their fans chanting for Ron Wilson's head and then fired him.)

The wager by Pegula and Ted Black is that a change in voice in a talented locker room will kickstart this rudderless team. It’s not a bad wager, if they feel Ruff lost the room.

But he’ll find another room. Quickly. This is going to make Randy Carlyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs after his firing in Anaheim seem like a years-long process. Hell, would it surprise anyone if Ruff suddenly emerged downstate on Long Island if Jack Capuano can’t turn around the Islanders?

Ryan Miller wanted changes in Buffalo. This is bigger than any promotion, demotion, signing or trade the Sabres could make. This is the end of an era, a rebooting of the franchise. This is the day Lindy Ruff was fired.

More NHL coverage from Yahoo! Sports:

Other popular content on Yahoo! Sports:
Watch: Sidney Crosby is becoming the 'leader we expected'
Blind in one eye, Juan Sandoval still sees bright future with Rays
Christmas Abbott, NASCAR's newest sex symbol, joins pit crew

View Comments (274)
  • Tarasenko has hat trick, Blues tie Wild

    Tarasenko has hat trick, Blues tie Wild

    Vladimir Tarasenko scored two goals in the first period and then had an empty-netter for his first career playoff hat trick, leading the St. Louis Blues to a 4-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday that evened their playoff series at a game … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 28 minutes ago
  • Bishop pulls Lightning even with Wings

    Bishop pulls Lightning even with Wings

    Tampa Bay's Ben Bishop stopped 24 shots for his first NHL playoff victory Saturday, a 5-1 win over Detroit that evened their opening-round Eastern Conference series at one game apiece. Tyler Johnson had two goals for the Lightning, who dropped Game … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 45 minutes ago
  • After physical Game 2, Eddie Lack knows he has to stay focused against Flames

    Vancouver Canucks goalie Eddie Lack will never be confused with Billy Smith. In fact, he hadn't even heard of the former New York Islanders netminder until after Game 2 of Vancouver's raucous Western Conference quarter-final with the Calgary Flames. … More »

    The Canadian Press - 7 minutes ago
  • Playoff series turns nasty between Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks

    The Calgary Flames won games this season because they were fast and fit. The Flames return to Calgary for Game 3 of their Western Conference quarter-final series having earned a 1-1 split of the first two games in Vancouver. Sunday's playoff game … More »

    The Canadian Press - 24 minutes ago
  • Puck Daddy NHL Draft Lottery Live Chat!

    Puck Daddy NHL Draft Lottery Live Chat!

    The NHL Draft Lottery is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday night, and there’s unprecedented hype for it. Connor McDavid, the brilliant junior hockey star, is the top prize; Jack Eichel, the brilliant NCAA hockey star, is a heck of a consolation … More »

    Puck Daddy - 30 minutes ago