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Sabres hire Ruff for 2nd stint as head coach

Rich Graessle / National Hockey League / Getty

The Buffalo Sabres are bringing back Lindy Ruff for a second tour of duty as head coach, the team announced Monday.

"I am thrilled to welcome Lindy back as the head coach of the Buffalo Sabres," general manager Kevyn Adams said.

"As I went through the hiring process, it quickly became clear Lindy was the person for the job. He has experience, a proven track record, familiarity with young players, and so much more.

"I want to be clear, though, that this hire was not made with nostalgia in mind. Lindy is the right person for the job now, and any history with our organization and community is simply an added bonus. I believe wholeheartedly that Lindy can help our team reach their goals and am excited to get to work with him."

Ruff was fired from his post by the New Jersey Devils in March after three-plus seasons with the club. The Sabres parted ways with Don Granato last week.

Granato, who was hired in 2021, was the sixth different bench boss Buffalo employed between firing and rehiring Ruff.

Ruff commanded the Sabres for 15 seasons from 1997 to 2013. He's the franchise's all-time leader in games coached (1,165) and wins (571). Buffalo made the playoffs eight times under Ruff's guidance and reached the Stanley Cup Final in 1999. He won the Jack Adams Award in 2005-06.

The 64-year-old is fifth on the league's all-time wins list at 864.

Buffalo was expected to compete for a playoff spot this season after finishing 2022-23 with 91 points, but the Sabres fizzled to a sixth-place finish in the Atlantic Division and regressed by seven points. After Granato was let go, franchise cornerstone Tage Thompson said he hoped the new coach could instill accountability and consistency into the roster.

The Sabres haven't reached the postseason since 2011, the longest active drought in the NHL.

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