(This post is the first in a series which will examine the role and performance of each member of the Sabres organization. I had intended to start at the bottom, and work my way up through the ranks, but in Lindy’s case, I feel there is a certain….urgency. Bucky Gleason has been writing about shadowy “rumors” swirling around HSBC arena that Lindy is about to get canned. I don’t believe it, and I’m reeeeally uncomfortable hoping anything Bucky writes is true, but I want to make sure I got Lindy’s review done with enough time for Larry Quinn to use it in his top to bottom organizational analysis. I’m just trying to help.)
Name: Lindebald Ruff
Position: Head coach
Length of time in current position: 10 million years
Career high point: Stanley Cup Finals 1999
Career low point: meeting Derek Roy
2008-09 grade: C- The Sabres missed the playoffs and were generally grody.
Areas of strength: yellow mustache upkeep, basic awesomeness, wry interviews, Tetris, uncanny ability to convince everyone he’s an infallible genius (possible warlock or jedi?), scowling, and salsa dancing.
Areas of weakness: forearms, application of “the system”, getting the Sabres into the playoffs, and adding fractions.
General comments: Lindy Ruff is a beloved citizen of Buffalo, in fact, he may well be the most beloved citizen of Buffalo. However, after twelve years of uninterrupted adoration, Lindy’s death grip on our hearts and minds has suddenly loosened. Buffalonians, distraught over missing the playoffs for the second straight year, are suddenly questioning everything they once held dear, and OPENLY saying things like, “Well…..maybe it’s time.”
“Well……maybe it’s time,” may not seem like a significant statement of discontent, but when compared to sweet caress of the velveteen kid gloves Lindy’s enjoyed for the bulk of his career, whispering “Well….maybe it’s time,” is akin to gathering outside his home with pitchforks and torches. It’s practically a declaration of war.
Lindy’s team has been uninspired, disorganized, and generally fragile for two seasons now. The reasons for this are many, most of them certainly not his fault, but one cannot help but think, “Well…..maybe it’s time.” There is no doubt that some portion of the team is ignoring him, and I suspect that there are those who are actively rebelling (hint: Blerek Bloy). So…..maybe it’s time.
On the other hand, you’re not going to find a more yellow-haired coach in the NHL. The Sabres should think long and hard about everything that Lindy’s yellow hair brings to the table before they go firing people all willy nilly.
REQUIRED SUMMER HOMEWORK: There is one hope, and one hope only for Lindy Ruff if he wants to continue coaching a team that includes Vanek, Roy, and Pominville. Lindy must undergo a complete personality overhaul. I know, I know, we like Lindy. He seems like such a cool guy, but if we want him to stay, some things have got to change. I’m not saying any of this is his fault, but things are what they are. The problems with this roster run too deep to suggest that moving a few players would provide enough help. Lindy’s got to do his part too.
1. Lindy must dye his hair black, because as much as the fans love his yellowness, he looks like a baby chick. Derek Roy doesn’t want to be coached by a baby chick, and frankly, I don’t blame him.
2. Lindy must be bitten by a radioactive spider and/or a vampire. Right now, when Lindy gets angry he has very little credibility with the team. They are unfazed by Lindy’s hollering. The only way to fix this problem is to up the ante with the threat of blood sucking and/or a spider-like ass kicking.
3. Lindy must acquire and learn how to use a taser.
4. Lindy must finish his doctoral dissertation once and for all. It’s an embarrassment and a scandal that the Sabres have been coached for all these years by a non-PhD.
5. Lindy must undergo hypnosis so that he forgets everything he knows about the current Sabres roster. This is for his own good.
6. Lindy must fight an ogre and win.
If Lindy is able to complete these tasks I feel he would be a changed man and therefore qualified to continue coaching the Sabres. Otherwise, he should probably be fired so that he can be hired by the MInnesota Wild. I’ve tried so many times to love the Wild (I’m a native Minnesotan) but due to their extreme Lemairishness, I’ve had a very difficult time wacthing them play. If Lindy became the coach of the Wild everyone would win. Lindy would like it in the Twin Cities and the team is nearly as loyal to their coaches as the Sabres, the Sabres would get a fresh start, and I’d still get to enjoy Lindy’s appealing yellowness from behind the bench of a team I enjoy. Plus, the Wild would get a good coach in Lindy Ruff.
Lindy is a good man, a good coach, and an good guy to have around, but he’s just not clicking with the team that his BFF Darcy Regier signed to long term contracts. So…..maybe it’s time. If it’s not time, Lindy needs to get to work on his ogre slaying skills, asap.