While my compadre on the site feels that Lindy's time as Sabres head coach should come to an end, I really don't. Lindy Ruff is a proven coach that when given the right team can take them to playoff prominence. Key words being the right team. Here are the reasons why Lindy Ruff should stay on as Sabres head coach while GM Darcy Regier should be shown the door.
Not Enough Talent on the Team
As much as Sabres fans like to fawn over their core players that have been signed through the 2012-13 season, at this point they aren't all that talented. Ryan Miller is an elite goaltender and will be for this team for the time to come but Jason Pominville and Jochen Hecht have never really shown that prowess to be $4.5 and $4 million players. Tim Connolly is a major risk that didn't pan out the first time yet the team decided to give him an extension. Many of these decisions hang on the head of the general manager and not the coach.
The Sabres have $46.539 million locked up in cap space for next season. This is spent on 15 players which means that this team needs to resign or find some cheap replacements because they have about $6 million to sign another five or six players on top of the handful that will be brought up from Portland.
Not Enough Heart and Leadership
Short of giving Ryan Miller the captain next season, this team needs to find leadership and heart to reign in a still very young group of players. Miller's post season interview said a lot in that this team needs to find something to get them going. This isn't a knock on the coach though. A coach can only bring in so much heart and passion and Lindy has shown his fair share. There needs to be another voice in the locker room that can stand up and make this team accountable, whether it is giving Gaustad the captain or bringing in another leader. The acquisition of Rivet and being elected captain was telling in that no one in this locker room wants to be a leader yet.
Lindy's Track Record
Lindy Ruff has a record of 437-334-78-52 in the regular season. This accounts for a total of 1006 of a possible 1802 points or a point conversion record of 55.8%. In this league, getting 55.8% of the possible points is fairly impressive. Add to that Lindy's experience in the postseason by making four conference finals and making the playoffs in 6 of 11 seasons adds more to that credibility. Lindy is starting to get noticed in the hockey community as well being hired as the head coach of Team Canada for the World Championships this season. Lindy has a winning pedigree and it would be a shame to let go a coach that has shown time and again that he can win.
This team needs a shakeup and it should start from the top. GM Darcy Regier time and again has shown that he can't put together a roster that is capable of going places. He has had elite goaltenders in Dominik Hasek and Ryan Miller and cannot put the pieces together to form an elite team.