|Born||February 17, 1960|
Warburg, Alberta, Canada
|Occupation||Ice hockey coach, player|
|General manager||Tom Fitzgerald|
|Team||New Jersey Devils|
|Previous team(s)||Buffalo Sabres|
|Years as NHL player||1978–1991|
|Years as a coach||1993–present|
|Years as an NHL coach||1993–present|
|Years with current team||2020–present|
Lindy Cameron Ruff (born February 17, 1960) is a Canadian professional ice hockey coach who is the head coach for the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League (NHL). Ruff was previously the head coach of the Dallas Stars of the NHL, and also the head coach of the Buffalo Sabres from 1997 to 2013, with whom he won the Jack Adams Award in 2006. During his playing career, Ruff played in the NHL for the Sabres and New York Rangers, the former of which he captained.
Ruff was an assistant coach for the 2014 Canadian Olympic Hockey Team.
Ruff was chosen in the second round, 32nd overall, of the 1979 NHL Entry Draft, by the Buffalo Sabres. He played for the Sabres and New York Rangers. Ruff gained a reputation as a player for his toughness, character and hard work on the ice. An illustration of this came in a May 10, 1980, playoff game against the New York Islanders, when opposing goaltender Billy Smith struck Ruff with his stick as he passed in front of his net. Ruff got up, skated back to the goaltender and tackled him.
Ruff played most of his NHL career for the Sabres, serving as captain of the team for nearly three years, but he was traded to the Rangers at the 1989 NHL trade deadline in exchange for a draft pick. The Sabres would use that pick to select Richard Šmehlík, who would later play for several years under Ruff.
Ruff played in 691 NHL games, scoring 105 goals and adding 195 assists for a total of 300 points. He also recorded 1,264 penalty minutes. In 52 playoff games, Ruff recorded 11 goals and 13 assists while accumulating 193 penalty minutes.
Ruff became assistant coach of the Florida Panthers for the 1993–94 season until the 1996–97 season. His greatest success as an assistant coach was with the 1995–96 Florida Panthers, who made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, but lost to the Colorado Avalanche.
Ruff was named the 15th head coach of the Buffalo Sabres on July 21, 1997. He joined a long list of former Sabres players who eventually became Sabres head coaches: Floyd Smith, Bill Inglis, Craig Ramsay, Jim Schoenfeld and Rick Dudley. He had immediate success in Buffalo, advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals in the 1997–98 season. In Ruff's second season as coach, the Sabres reached the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals before finally losing to the Dallas Stars in six games. The Stars' Brett Hull scored a goal deep into the third overtime. Hull's skate was in the goaltender's crease, but had control of the puck, which was (under then 1999 rules prior to a late-March NHL memo) a clear violation, giving Dallas the Stanley Cup. The following two seasons saw Ruff's Sabres lose in the first round to the Philadelphia Flyers and the second round to the Pittsburgh Penguins, respectively.
Buffalo missed the playoffs in the three seasons preceding the 2004–05 NHL lockout amidst the team's bankruptcy and financial problems caused by the Adelphia Communications corporate scandal. After the lockout, Ruff lead the Sabres to back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals appearances only to lose to the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 and the Ottawa Senators in 2007. Ruff was the longest-tenured coach in the NHL and was rewarded with a three-year contract extension that had an option for a fourth season.
Ruff is known for being blunt with the media. A well-known example of his bluntness were his comments regarding Toronto Maple Leafs player Darcy Tucker. In his post-game interview following a questionable hit on Jochen Hecht that knocked the Sabres centre out of the lineup for two weeks with a sprained ACL in the 2005–06 season, Ruff said, "I want him [Tucker] suspended." He also said, "I have not called the NHL office all year and I will call them ten times tomorrow." He called Tucker's hit "an absolute joke".
On April 5, 2006, Ruff became the 31st coach in NHL history to win 300 games, and just the 16th to do so with only one team. Ruff led the Sabres to their most successful regular season ever in 2006–07 with a 53–22–7 record for a total of 113 points.
Ruff was again nominated for the Jack Adams Award in 2006–07. His nomination was the second time he has been a finalist for coach of the year. Alain Vigneault of the Vancouver Canucks won the honour; Ruff placed second in voting with 126 points to Vigneault's 134.
In February 2007, Ruff was fined US$10,000 by the NHL after a brawl with the Ottawa Senators. The NHL said Ruff precipitated the brawl following a questionable hit on then co-captain Chris Drury by the Senators' Chris Neil. Because the hit to Drury did not result in a penalty, Ruff sent out Andrew Peters, Patrick Kaleta and Adam Mair, the team's "enforcers". What followed was one of the 2006–07 season's most memorable hockey brawls. Mair began the brawl, punching Ottawa's Jason Spezza as soon as the puck was dropped. Peters tried to start a fight with Dany Heatley, who was reluctant to respond, at one point even hiding behind a linesman. The goaltenders also entered the fight, with Martin Biron challenging Ray Emery, and Ruff himself engaged in a prolonged shouting match with Senators head coach Bryan Murray. A large contingent of Sabres fans attempted to raise money to pay the fine on Ruff's behalf. Ruff declined the fans' offer and had the money raised donated to charity.
After a second round playoff match against the New York Rangers on April 27, 2007, Ruff would be fined again by the NHL after harshly criticizing officials for an alleged missed too-many-men call against the Rangers, which might have given Buffalo a chance to tie the match in the closing minute.
On October 15, 2008, Ruff became the 23rd coach in NHL history to win 400 games, and just the seventh to win 400 games for one team.
On January 6, 2011, Ruff became only the 16th coach in NHL history to win 500 games, and just the second to win 500 games while only having coached one team.
On January 8, 2011, Ruff became the winningest coach who only coached for one team in NHL history when the Sabres defeated the Phoenix Coyotes 2–1 in overtime. His 501st win behind the bench with the Sabres put him one ahead of Toe Blake, who coached to 500 wins with the Montreal Canadiens. Al Arbour won more games for the New York Islanders, but he also coached the St. Louis Blues early in his career. Along with Arbour, Billy Reay and current New York Islanders coach Barry Trotz, Ruff is one of just four coaches to coach 1,000 NHL games with a single team.
On April 29, 2011, the Sabres announced Ruff had agreed to a multiple year contract extension.
On February 20, 2013, the Sabres announced Ruff had been relieved of his coaching duties, ending his tenure as the NHL's longest active-serving coach with one team and second only to Gregg Popovich in the four major sports in North America. Ron Rolston, head coach of the American Hockey League's Rochester Americans, was named as his replacement.
On June 20, 2013, the Dallas Stars announced they were in the process of hiring Ruff as head coach. This was also on the anniversary of the controversial defeat of the Sabres in the Stanley Cup Finals in 1999. On June 21, 2013, the Stars announced Ruff would be their new head coach.
In 2014, Ruff led the Stars to their first playoff appearance since 2008, but lost in the opening round to the Anaheim Ducks in six games. Ruff served as the head coach of the Central Division squad in the 2015–16 All-Star Game.
New York Rangers
On July 10, 2017, it was announced Ruff was named as assistant coach of the New York Rangers.
New Jersey Devils
Another younger brother, Marty Ruff, was a first round draft pick of the St. Louis Blues, but never appeared in an NHL game.
An older brother, Randy Ruff, played and coached in junior hockey.
Ruff and his wife Gaye have four children: Brett, Eryn and twins Madeline and Brian. The Ruffs' primary residence is in Clarence, New York.
|1976–77||Taber Golden Suns||AJHL||60||13||33||46||112||—||—||—||—||—|
|1988–89||New York Rangers||NHL||13||0||5||5||31||2||0||0||0||17|
|1989–90||New York Rangers||NHL||56||3||6||9||80||8||0||3||3||12|
|1990–91||New York Rangers||NHL||14||0||1||1||27||—||—||—||—||—|
|1992–93||San Diego Gulls||IHL||81||10||32||42||100||14||1||6||7||26|
Head coaching record
|Team||Year||Regular season||Post season|
|BUF||1997–98||82||36||29||17||—||89||3rd in Northeast||10||5||.667||Lost in Conference Finals (WSH)|
|BUF||1998–99||82||37||28||17||—||91||4th in Northeast||14||7||.667||Lost in Stanley Cup Finals (DAL)|
|BUF||1999–00||82||35||32||11||4||85||3rd in Northeast||1||4||.200||Lost in Conference Quarterfinals (PHI)|
|BUF||2000–01||82||46||30||5||1||98||2nd in Northeast||7||6||.538||Lost in Conference Semifinals (PIT)|
|BUF||2001–02||82||35||35||11||1||82||5th in Northeast||—||—||—||Missed playoffs|
|BUF||2002–03||82||27||37||10||8||72||5th in Northeast||—||—||—||Missed playoffs|
|BUF||2003–04||82||37||34||7||4||85||5th in Northeast||—||—||—||Missed playoffs|
|BUF||2005–06||82||52||24||—||6||110||2nd in Northeast||11||7||.611||Lost in Conference Finals (CAR)|
|BUF||2006–07||82||53||22||—||7||113||1st in Northeast||9||7||.563||Lost in Conference Finals (OTT)|
|BUF||2007–08||82||39||31||—||12||90||4th in Northeast||—||—||—||Missed playoffs|
|BUF||2008–09||82||41||32||—||9||91||3rd in Northeast||—||—||—||Missed playoffs|
|BUF||2009–10||82||45||27||—||10||100||1st in Northeast||2||4||.333||Lost in Conference Quarterfinals (BOS)|
|BUF||2010–11||82||43||29||—||10||96||3rd in Northeast||3||4||.429||Lost in Conference Quarterfinals (PHI)|
|BUF||2011–12||82||39||32||—||11||89||3rd in Northeast||—||—||—||Missed playoffs|
|BUF total||1,165||571||432||78||84||57||44||.564||8 playoff appearances|
|DAL||2013–14||82||40||31||—||11||91||5th in Central||2||4||.333||Lost in Conference Quarterfinals (ANA)|
|DAL||2014–15||82||41||31||—||10||92||6th in Central||—||—||—||Missed playoffs|
|DAL||2015–16||82||50||23||—||9||109||1st in Central||7||6||.538||Lost in Conference Semifinals (STL)|
|DAL||2016–17||82||34||37||—||11||79||6th in Central||—||—||—||Missed playoffs|
|DAL total||328||165||122||—||41||9||10||.474||2 playoff appearances|
|Total||1,493||736||554||78||125||66||54||.550||10 playoff appearances|
- Klein, J. Z. (February 23, 2013). "As a fired coach reels, so do fans in buffalo". New York Times. ProQuest 1814968871.
- NHL.com – Coaches Archived August 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- Regier, Ruff re-up with Sabres – Business First of Buffalo:
- ESPN – Knee sprain to sideline Hecht for two weeks – NHL
- Vigneault wins three-way race for Adams Archived November 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
- NHL.com – News
- Sabres vs Senators Brawl 2/22/07
- NHL.com – News
- "Sabres coach, Clarence resident Lindy Ruff highlights Greater Buffalo 2010 Class | www.clarencebee.com | Clarence Bee". Retrieved February 4, 2018.
- Sabres sign Ruff to contract extension – AP
- "Buffalo Sabres relieve Lindy Ruff of coaching duties". Retrieved February 20, 2013.
- Fox, Luke (April 10, 2017). "NHL Black Monday Roundup: L.A. Kings clean house". Sportsnet. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- "Rangers Name Lindy Ruff Assistant Coach". NHL.com. July 10, 2017. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
- "RELEASE: Devils Name Lindy Ruff Head Coach". NHL.com. July 9, 2020. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
- "Lindy Ruff named Devils' coach, Tom Fitzgerald stays GM". ESPN.com. July 9, 2020. Retrieved July 9, 2020.
- "Hart makes 33 saves, Raffl breaks tie as Flyers beat Devils". AP News. January 28, 2021. Retrieved April 4, 2021.
- Biographical information and career statistics from NHL.com, or Eliteprospects.com, or Hockey-Reference.com, or The Internet Hockey Database
| Buffalo Sabres captain
| Jack Adams Award winner
| Head coach of the Buffalo Sabres
| Head coach of the Dallas Stars
| Head coach of the New Jersey Devils