A number of Buffalo blogs have recently started writing about the one potential solution to the problem of the Sabres that everyone has, up to this point, mostly avoided: firing Lindy Ruff. I'm not going to lie, it has crossed my mind as well. I think at this point, we're all looking for something - anything - to shake the team out of its ongoing rut of inconsistency and listlessness. I had an entry half-written about the subject. But as I was rereading it I realized, I couldn't finish it and I couldn't publish it because I do not want Lindy Ruff to be fired. I can't even think about Lindy Ruff being fired. I go into convulsions.
First of all, I think it's a pointless debate because the Sabres are not firing Lindy. Everyone knows how loyal Lindy and Darcy Regier are to each other but I think Larry Quinn admires and respects Lindy almost as much. I think both men want to have a winning team in Buffalo but I also honestly believe they'll watch the team struggle and the fans burn HSBC to the ground before they even think about firing Lindy. It is not an option. If Lindy asks to be released from his contract I think they'll grant that - after trying desperately to talk him out of it - but that's the only way he's leaving Buffalo before his contract is up.
Second of all, and most importantly, I'm just far too attached to Lindy to put that out as a serious suggestion. I've written a couple of times now about how I feel about Lindy and those feelings still stand. I get the logical side of the argument: The team desperately needs a shake-up, firing the coach is the easiest and most straight-forward way of making a major change, the players are tuning Lindy out, Lindy's system doesn't work with this team, part of a coach's job is being able to motivate his players, we're committed to these players so they're not going anywhere etc. etc. And you know, a little part of me would like to see how the Sabres players would respond to someone like John Tortorella bursting onto the scene and getting in their faces and turning everything they're used to on its head. I know all of the points above are very valid reasons for looking at a coaching change and I would love to offer a logical response to all of them. I really try to make an effort on this here blog to occasionally put aside my fan hat and try to be a little more analytical.
But it's not happening here. The logical side of my brain will never ever override the emotional side when it comes to Lindy. He's my coach. He's been coaching the Buffalo Sabres as long as I've known anything about them. I think he's smart and I think he's funny and I appreciate that even in the rough times, he always has that dry, mischievous sense of humor. When hockey fans hear Buffalo they think of Lindy Ruff and when they hear Lindy Ruff they think of Buffalo. Lindy and Buffalo are inextricably linked. He hasn't just passed through the city, giving us a few years out of his career. He's been here forever. He's settled here. He's raised his family here. He's one of us. That means a lot to me. It means enough to me that you'll never ever get me to say, "I think we need to fire Lindy." You could talk me into trading or releasing every player on the roster (some more easily than others) but I just can't come around to the same in regards to Lindy. If you tell me, "We can fire the entire team or we can fire Lindy," then I'm asking when the new players report. They're the ones who actually go on the ice and you know what, if they can't find it in themselves to show a little heart, then screw them.
So the rest of the Buffalo blogosphere can be all thoughtful and rational if they must. I'll be over here in the corner trying to think of a way to trade 25 or so players and insisting that Lindy Ruff be the coach of the Sabres until I die. That's just the way I roll.