It is the classic case of “you know what” rolling downhill. Off to a 6-10-1 start and booed off the ice in their last home game, Buffalo GM Darcy Regier fired head coach Lindy Ruff after 16 years at the helm of the Sabres on Wednesday.
It is funny how loyalty works. At one time, Regier was quoted that he and Ruff were a package deal. Until you lose 10 of your first 17 games and then you are on your own apparently.
It wasn’t Ruff who signed Ville Leino to a 6 year, $27M deal two summers ago. It wasn’t Ruff who injured Leino’s hip, not allowing him to play yet this season, and maybe requiring surgery. It wasn’t Ruff who signed Christian Ehrhoff to a 10-year, $40M contract or Tyler Myers to a 7 year, $35M contract despite the fact he was not arbitration eligible nor an unrestricted free agent.
It seems like Ruff is being the fall guy for a GM who went on a spending spree and didn’t exactly spend that money wisely. Regier stated the firing was his decision, after consulting with the owner and the President. I can imagine the conversation went something like*:
TERRY PEGULA: So Darcy, we have to make some changes. The fans aren’t happy and we aren’t winning games.
DARCY REGEIR: Well I said that Lindy and I were a package deal. If you want to fire one of us, fire both.
PEGULA: Well you did just get a contract extension, but OK, if that is the way you feel, then so be it.
REGEIR: Wait a second….Ummm….Well Lindy didn’t do very much with the 9th highest payroll in the league. I will fire him.
*totally fictional account based on my perception of how it went down*
Ruff, like him or not, and over the years he has rubbed Ottawa fans the wrong way, did a lot for that team over a number of lean years. For him to get dropped under those circumstances and to be the fall guy for the misspending of the GM stinks. I guess it does roll downhill.
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