BUFFALO, N.Y. – Sabres coach Lindy Ruff and general manager Darcy Regier are staying put.
Managing partner Larry Quinn said Friday that both will be back next season, calling it “absolutely the best move for our franchise” despite the Sabres missing the playoffs for a second straight year.
Quinn told The Associated Press that the decision to retain both came after management met with Ruff and Regier this past week after the Sabres completed the regular season on Saturday. Buffalo (41-32-9) was eliminated from playoff contention in the final week of the season and finished 10th in the Eastern Conference standings for a second straight year.
“We wanted to have a chance to digest the season and gauge their desire and their — how would I say it? — willingness to approach this freshly and with some innovation,” Quinn said. “And we’ve taken our process forward enough to know that these are the two guys we want to lead our hockey department next year.”
Quinn then noted that management’s job is far from over. Without going into detail, he said, “We’ve got obviously a lot more work ahead of us than just this.”
Questions about Ruff and Regier’s future were raised last weekend, when Quinn declined to say whether either would be retained.
The Sabres first announced they’re keeping Ruff and Regier in a two-sentence statement posted on their Web site, which in part read: “Ownership is very excited to have these two individuals return to help lead the organization back to the playoffs next season.”
With 438 victories in 11 seasons, Ruff is the team’s winningest coach and is signed through next year. Regier, who completed his 12th season as Sabres GM, is signed through 2011. Together, they are currently the longest-serving coach-general manager tandem in the NHL.
Ruff is preparing to travel to Switzerland, where he will coach Team Canada at the World Hockey Championships, which open next week.