Julien longest-tenured coach in East after Ruff fired


Julien longest-tenured coach in East after Ruff fired

TAMPA The Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres have clearly had their hockey battles over the years. Hard feelings spilled over even in their first regular season game against each other this season when Sabres coach Lindy Ruff called a timeout late with a lead Bruins forward Brad Marchand called the move disrespectful in a game that had already been decided.

But those hard feelings for Ruffs methods dissolved on Wednesday morning when the team learned that the Buffalo Sabres had fired their longtime coach after a brutal start to the season.

The Sabres were last in the Northeast Division with a 6-10-1 record, had lost seven of their last 10 games, and dropped a heartbreaking loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night that set the stage for Ruff's sacking.

Ruff was the longest-tenured coach in the NHL after being hired way back in 1997 and took the Sabres to the conference finals four times and made it to the Stanley Cup Finals against the Dallas Stars once in a losing effort.

Claude Julien paid respect to a fellow member of the coaching fraternity whose firing leaves the Bruins coach as the longest-tenured coach in the Eastern Conference.

When you see a coach like that last that long behind the bench of one team, you have to be proud of his accomplishments. Ruff deserves a lot of praise, said Julien. Ive said all along if I last that long in place like Ruff then Id be extremely happy. He did a great job there.

I know he brought his team to the Finals that one year against Dallas with the controversial goal. That will always stick with the Sabres organization. He didnt always have the best teams, but he always got the best out of his players. Ive always said he was a good coach, and unfortunately those things happen in our game whether theyre fair or not.

Barry Trotz, Alain Vigneault and Mike Babcock all have been at their respective posts in Nashville, Vancouver and Detroit longer than Julien, but hes now the senior head coach among Eastern teams. Daniel Paille was the only Bruins skater to play under Ruffs tutelage in Buffalo, and had nothing but complimentary things to say about the longtime head coach.

He was obviously there for a number of years, but the team wasnt doing well. The coach is the easiest one to go after. Thats unfortunate, but its part of the game, said Paille. He definitely changed my perspective as a person and what I needed to achieve in my life and goals. He definitely helped out early on in my life with that.

Now the Sabres will move on to a new coach while looking for a spark, and Ruff may get a well-deserved rest after a nearly two-decade run as the head hockey man behind the Buffalo bench.

Bruins admit they 'just weren't ready' to play Isles in shutout loss


Bruins admit they 'just weren't ready' to play Isles in shutout loss

BOSTON – The Bruins are starting to run out of adjectives and descriptors for these “no-show” performances on home ice.

The Bruins made it twice in two months that they’ve dropped a disappointing dud to one of the Eastern Conference’s worst teams when they came out flat, and never showed any signs of life in a 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders. The lack of effort and pitiful results were particularly disappointing coming off a solid five game stretch where they’d engineered high effort wins over Florida, St. Louis and Philadelphia.

Patrice Bergeron finished a minus-3 on the afternoon, and said in quasi-disgust that he knew five minutes into the game that his team didn’t have “it” on Monday.

“Something that we talked [headed into Monday was] about building from the last few weeks, and how good it felt around the room, I guess, with winning games basically,” said Bergeron. “[The shutout loss] just shows that you have to show up every night and not take things for granted. I think we did [take things for granted] this afternoon.

“It was about finding someone to get us a shift to get us going basically. We had a few good shifts there, and we sustained a little bit of pressure there. But then we just couldn’t keep that for the next lines after going, we couldn’t sustain that or build from that. It was really the whole team throughout the lineup that didn’t show up and, you know, it’s obviously inexcusable, unacceptable.”

Claude Julien mentioned the compacted schedule and potential fatigue playing into the Bruins looking “flat” on Monday against the Islanders, and perhaps that is partially to blame for an uncharacteristically lifeless performance from the Black and Gold. But the B’s essentially did nothing for 60 minutes after not having played for 48 hours dating back to a Saturday afternoon matinee win over the Flyers, so the fatigue excuse is difficult to swallow.

Instead it looked like a Bruins team that thought they were going to roll out the pucks and beat the worst team in the Metro Division that had lost four-of-five games. Instead a defensive zone breakdown led to a Nikolay Kulemin goal midway through the second period, and the Bruins collapsed after that. Josh Bailey tucked a short side goal past a late-reacting Tuukka Rask for a soft serve special allowed by Boston’s ace goaltender, and Kulemin scored again in the second period once the Bruins began cheating at the offensive end of the ice.

To make matters worse, the Bruins showed zero fight or willingness to scratch and claw their way back into the game in the third period. Instead it looked like they quit on two points that could end up being extremely important at the end of the season.

It also looked like the Bruins weren’t ready to play, and that they overlooked the downtrodden Islanders for the second time in as many months.

“Maybe we took them a little lightly, but we just weren’t ready [to play],” said Brad Marchand. “We have to look ourselves in the mirror and all be a little bit better. We all have to be prepared for every game. You can’t look at the guy besides us and think he’s going to do the job. We have to take a little onus on ourselves and all be a little bit better. As a team, again, we have to play the system together and we have to back each other up. We have to play as one unit and we didn’t do that.”

It’s long past the point where the words even matter that the Bruins are uttering after games like Monday afternoon. Instead it’s about results and nothing else, and the B’s were nothing short of putrid in that category against the Islanders with points at a premium this time of year.