UPDATE: Friday, June 21 at 9:59 a.m ET by Michael Cahill
The Dallas Stars made the hiring of Lindy Ruff official this morning via their website.
General Manager Jim Nill:
"One of the trademarks of successful organizations is their ability to have continuity and stability for an extended period of time," said Nill. "It is clear from Lindy's record, and from our own conversations, that we have found the right person to provide that stability and lead this club to the next level. His steady hand and experience will prove invaluable in returning our team as a top-tier contender in the NHL."
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Stars CEO Jim Lites spoke during a luncheon on Thursday and revealed the franchise’s plans to hire Ruff, "barring any unforeseen circumstances."
Dallas had been through an extensive search to find a new head coach—a process spearheaded by new Stars GM Jim Nill—and a veteran leader with a winning history is exactly what the organization needed.
Ruff was the head coach of the Buffalo Sabres for 15 seasons before being fired midway through the 2013 season for his team’s lack of elite performance. While the last several seasons have been lackluster, the veteran head coach’s career record (571-432-78) speaks for itself.
The Stars are getting a top-tier head coach.
While the Sabres were never the most talented team on paper—a flaw that should be attributed to the franchise and not the head coach—Ruff was always able to get the most out of the players that were willing to work hard.
He helped lead Buffalo to four conference championship games and to the Stanley Cup Final in 1999, where the Sabres lost to Dallas on a controversial goal from NHL legend Brett Hull.
While there will always be growing pains with a regime change of this magnitude, Ruff is all about winning hockey games and getting the team to work together for the same goal of winning the Stanley Cup.
Dallas boasts a roster that features talented forwards like Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson, a strong defense led by Alex Goligoski and Sergei Gonchar and an elite goalie in Kari Lehtonen. Considering the talent, the longtime head coach will have a great start at succeeding in his newest challenge.