My ode to Lindy Ruff

Failure.

We've all been through it. I probably failed at something today that gave me pause and reflection. Whether it is with girls, job interviews or any sort of activity that results in a winner or loser, you always  adjust and learn from the end result.  There's no such thing as destiny. You have to work for what you want.

There's been times I've reinvented myself when it comes to getting that job, promotion or girl. It can be as subtle as wearing your hair slicked back instead of off to the side. Maybe you are being yourself instead of being guarded. You find some new lines. Maybe you are trying to be more outgoing instead of playing it cool. Sometimes you may try and find religion in order to wrong the rights.When nothing changes, you start breaking down into superstitions instead of changing. You look for slump busters. You take the kids or players to McDonalds in Seattle or have the rookies train with Navy Seals. And at that point, you start getting desperate. The desperation oozes out of your pores like sweat. They can see it. The nerves. The fatigue. The fidgeting. And worst of all, the uncertainty in your voice and actions. More is lost by indecision than by wrong decision.

It is ironic that on day Lindy coached his final game, he did his old line juggling. Desperation. I think Stafford was playing in the conga line while Hecht was the #1 center at this point. I can just picture Lindy sitting in his office with his hands on his face and then streaking his fingertips through whatever hair was left on his head. Stressed and desperate. Not knowing how to deal with failure.

He probably hadn't had a good night's rest since January. We heard about him reinventing himself and being nicer . He was trying anything. Throwing spaghetti against the wall to see if it would stick. But it was too late. Lindy was already dead, but no one at 1 Seymour Knox Plaza had the balls to say it until today.

Lindy Ruff has been fired.

Wow.

Just saying that kind of makes the hairs on the back of my neck stick up. I was in a meeting and came back to my desk to see about 20 Facebook messages pop up.

As of now, I don't exactly feel excitement for the Sabres, because I'm just shocked.  You could also throw in that I don't really like the makeup of this hockey team to begin with. This team has A LOT of to work to do and I don't think it will be fixed until we move some bodies off this squad. This is a start to the dominoes falling. Plus, I don't know a damn thing about other coaches out there that we can hire. This isn't like the Bills/Chip Kelly/Bill Cowher or any of that stuff. I guess they are hiring the Rochester guy for now? Fine. Getting better players is still my main goal.

The firing is more like a relief for me. Finally! We can move on.

We can actually move onto other things than the same stuff about Lindy. The time was now. People who loved Ruff turned on the guy even. The crowd last night was indicative of that. 

So what will Lindy's legacy be?

I know there are some who think his legacy has been tarnished over the last few years, but I seriously doubt that. Nostalgia is a very powerful thing in Buffalo. It is especially powerful when all you know is just one guy. Lindy was the coach of the Sabres for half of my life and for anyone who is 17 or younger, he's all they grew up with. When you are young, the game itself is what matters and not so much the winning part. That in itself will have a powerful imprint on that fan's psyche.

For older folks, reminiscing about the good old days puts smiles on everyone's face. Do you think people in Green Bay won't forgive Brett Favre for what he did to them in 2008?

Of course not.

They will remember the good times when they look back. As for Buffalo, we love those Super Bowl teams, yet, they were the epitome of losing. We don't think of them as this tragic tale like most fans do, instead we act like they were a renaissance of sorts.

When Lindy hangs up his coaching tie, we'll remember the good times and ignore all the BS. We will worship him with a statue in Alumni plaza and have a bobble head for him. We will raise some sort of banner to the rafters and hand him a Sabre sword. It will be great. We will celebrate his longevity and ignore that he's had only five playoff series wins since "No Goal".  And that's where the changing of the guard begins for me..

The way sports is now nationally is that we put such a huge importance on winning. It is championship or bust. If LeBron James doesn't win as many titles as Jordan, he's a disappointment. If the Yankees or Lakers don't win the championship, their season has been a failure. I'm not saying that is right or wrong, but that's just sports nowadays.

Whether it was just being self-deprecating about ourselves in thinking we were lucky to have professional teams or that we enjoy boozing at games, I think we may have been one of the last places in the country to not go by that sort of rhetoric of winning is everything.  

Lindy may represent the end of an era in Sabres hockey where just treading on water like he did during his time here, won't be regarded as anything special when another coach comes here.

If the next coach goes three years without a playoff series win, he's going to be fired. Plain and simple.

There won't be any sort of irregularities like owners going to jail or trying to make as much money as possible. Lindy survived because of the asterisks that surrounded this team with ownership and just knowing how to work the media and fans. Being a hometown guy with a sense of bravado helped him, too.

Sure, I do find it sad that we won't ever see him raise the cup above his head at a parade or skate around center ice with it. It would have been a special moment because no Buffalo hockey figure went through as many bad times as Lindy. It would have been the ultimate paying your dues moment for him and this fan base.

But that's the problem…we are sick of paying those dues and we blame everyone in that Arena for those dues giving us scars. Our lust for a championship made us turn on Lindy in the end. The "Soul reason for existing is to win the cup" also didn't exactly help him either.

Ironic, how we are just a day away from the two year anniversary of Pegula Day. We thought a new era started on that day, but the record says otherwise. For Sabres fans, let's hope the sacrifice of Lindy's job truly starts a new era.

Joe

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The Lord of Buffalo Wins

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