Lindy Ruff may not have seen the hammer coming down immediately, but he knew there was trouble in Buffalo.
The Sabres appeared to have a good chance at making a run at the Boston Bruins in the Northeast Division at the start of the season. The Sabres had been soft last year, and they added gritty Steve Ott from Dallas and humongous enforcer John Scott.
That definitely made the Sabres tougher, but it did not make them better.
It was one step forward and two steps back for Buffalo in this truncated season, and General Manager Darcy Regier decided he had seen enough when the Sabres dropped a 2-1 decision to the Winnipeg Jets in Buffalo.
The loss dropped the Sabres to 6-10-1. They are in last place in the Northeast Division.
Regier fired Ruff and brought in Rochester Americans head coach Ron Rolston (source: NHL.com) as the team's interim head coach for the rest of the season.
Rolston will have a chance to make a claim for the full-time head coaching position in the team's 31 remaining games. However, he is by no means a cinch to keep the job.
Here's a ranking of the top five candidates. Much could change as other coaches are hired and fired, but here's a look at how things stand as of Feb. 20.