As has been speculated since the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, the New York Rangers officially announced today the hiring of Lindy Ruff to serve as Assistant Coach.
Ruff will, presumably, take the defensive reins from Jeff Beukeboom, who is expected to be reassigned within the organization. While many of the Rangers defensive woes last season could be attributed to the aging disjointed lineup, Beukeboom’s lack of experience did play a role in key situations and matchups.
Prior to hiring current Head Coach Alain Vigneault, the Rangers considered Ruff as well, before he signed with the Dallas Stars. There are no indications that Vigneault is on the “hot seat” after recently signing an extension, but Ruff will provide an experienced presence that will hold the entire coaching staff accountable.
Below is the official release:
RANGERS NAME LINDY RUFF ASSISTANT COACH
NEW YORK, July 10, 2017 – New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has named Lindy Ruff as an Assistant Coach.
Ruff, 57, has served as a Head Coach in the National Hockey League for the last 19 seasons (1997-98 – 2016-17). In 1,493 career regular season games as an NHL Head Coach, Ruff has posted a 736-554-78-125 record (.561 points percentage). He ranks fourth among head coaches in NHL history in regular season games coached, only trailing Scotty Bowman, Al Arbour, and Joel Quenneville. Ruff also ranks fifth among head coaches in NHL history in regular season wins, only trailing Bowman, Quenneville, Arbour, and Ken Hitchcock. Ruff has also coached 120 career Stanley Cup Playoff games in the NHL, and his teams have posted a 66-54 record in the playoffs (.550 winning percentage).
Ruff began his head coaching career in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres in 1997-98 and served as the team’s Head Coach for parts of 15 seasons (1997-98 – 2012-13). He is the Sabres’ all-time leader among head coaches in several categories, including games coached (1,165) and wins (571). After he helped the Sabres advance to the Eastern Conference Final in his first season as the team’s head coach, he guided the Sabres to the Stanley Cup Final in his second season as Buffalo’s Head Coach in 1998-99.
Ruff also helped the Sabres advance to the Eastern Conference Final in two consecutive seasons in 2005-06 and 2006-07. He was named the winner of the Jack Adams Award in 2005-06 for being the NHL head coach “adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success” during the season. Ruff guided the Sabres to a 52-24-6 record during the 2005-06 season. He was also named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award in 2006-07, as he helped Buffalo win the Presidents’ Trophy (for having the best regular season record in the NHL) for the first time in franchise history and establish a single-season franchise record with 53 wins.
Following his tenure in Buffalo, Ruff served as the Head Coach of the Dallas Stars for four seasons (2013-14 – 2016-17). He was selected as a finalist for the Jack Adams Award for the third time in 2015-16, as he guided the Stars to a 50-23-9 record and helped the team finish in first place in the Central Division and in the Western Conference during the regular season. Over Ruff’s four-year tenure in Dallas, the Stars ranked second in the NHL – and led the Western Conference – in goals per game (2.97). Dallas ranked either first or second in the NHL in goals per game in two of Ruff’s four seasons as the team’s Head Coach.
Prior to beginning his head coaching career, Ruff served as an Assistant Coach with the Florida Panthers for four seasons (1993-94 – 1996-97). During his tenure with the Panthers, Ruff helped Florida advance to the Stanley Cup Final in 1995-96. The Warburg, Alberta, native has served as a member of Canada’s coaching staff in several tournaments. Ruff helped Canada earn a silver medal while serving as the Head Coach at the 2009 IIHF World Championship and also served as Team Canada’s Head Coach at the 2013 IIHF World Championship. In addition, Ruff earned a gold medal while serving as the Associate Coach for Team Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Ruff skated in 691 career NHL games over parts of 12 seasons in the league (1979-80 – 1990-91), registering 105 goals and 195 assists for 300 points, along with 1,264 penalty minutes. He played parts of three seasons with the Rangers (1988-89 – 1990-91) after he was acquired from Buffalo on March 7, 1989, and he recorded 15 points (three goals, 12 assists) in 83 career contests with the Blueshirts.