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Buffalo Sabres fire coach Lindy Ruff

02/20/2013 5:02 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Lindy Ruff was the longest tenured coach in the NHL prior to being fired.(AP)
Longtime Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff is the first coaching casualty of the shortened NHL season, fired by the Sabres after a 6-10-1 start that has seen them lose seven of their last 10 games.

Ruff’s dismissal was announced via the team’s Twitter account, with Sabres spokesman Michael Gilbert confirming the firing later Wednesday.

According to the AP, Ruff was let go following a 90-minute practice on Wednesday morning, hours after he told the media during an abruptly-halted press conference where he told the media that “it isn’t working the way we’re going.”

As of late Wednesday afternoon, general manager Darcy Regier had not named a replacement, but was scheduled to address the media later in the day. Buffalo’s next game is scheduled for Thursday at Toronto.

Sabres management, including team president Ted Black and owner Terry Pegula, had spent much of the past week voicing its support of Ruff, but also had to watch as the team was booed heavily by their home fans during Tuesday night’s 2-1 loss to Winnipeg, who as of game time had the worst record in the Eastern Conference.

Ruff leaves Buffalo as the winningest coach in Sabres history after compiling a 571-432-162 record in 16 seasons. Until Wednesday, he had been the longest-tenured coach in the NHL and the active leader in wins with the same team, both honors that now fall to Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz. He is also second all-time among wins with one team, with his 571 trailing only Al Arbour’s 740 with the New York Islanders.

The Sabres made the playoffs in each of Ruff’s first four seasons and eight times overall – including their surprise run to the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals – but Buffalo has missed the playoffs in three of the past five seasons after reaching back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals in 2006 and 2007.

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