Buffalo Sabres: Lindy Ruff
The Buffalo Sabres are one of the cursed organizations in the NHL. Buffalo has never won a Stanley Cup, and the last eight years have been agonizing as the team attempts to rebuild into a playoff team while finishing last in the Atlantic Division four out of the last five years. However, times were not always as bleak for the Sabres, and those times of hope can credited to the Lindy Ruff era.
Ruff led the Sabres bench for 14 full seasons and holds almost every meaningful franchise coaching record, including wins, with 565. Ruff took the Sabres to the playoffs eight times out of 14 seasons, but only once did Buffalo lose more games than they won under Ruff’s direction.
The Sabres reached the Conference Finals four times and their first Stanley Cup Final in 24 years with Ruff as the head coach in the 1998-99 season when they faced the Dallas Stars. Ruff and the Sabres came up short in six games after the infamous “Toe in the Crease” goal scored in double overtime by Brett Hull, robbing Ruff of achieving the pinnacle of his career.
The Sabres decided to relieve Ruff of his head coaching duties after a 6-10-1 start to the 2012-13 season and missing the playoffs the year prior, ending his tenure as the longest active serving head coach with one team, and the second longest coach tenure with one team in all four major American sports behind only Greg Popovich of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs.
Lindy Ruff is currently the assistant coach with the New York Rangers and owns 736 career wins as a head coach.