Julien longest-tenured coach in East after Ruff fired

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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.

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while digging the Spider-Man trailer that dropped last night. 

*John Scott has finally called it a day and announced his retirement, and apparently there’s a book of his memoirs also coming out too. I’m predicting it’s not headed for the New York Times best seller list. 

*Winter Olympics participation and the CBA negotiations for the NHL are starting to merge into giant issue.  

*Connor McDavid calls the Flyers' Brandon Manning classless for telling him on the ice that he purposefully tried to hurt him last season. Some players might also take issue with McDavid making public what another player said to him on the ice. That’s kind of a no-no for most hockey players and breaks an unwritten rule that McDavid might think he’s above given his star status. This whole thing isn’t a good look for anybody. 

*Kevin Stevens pleads guilty to federal drug charges in what’s become a pretty sad situation for the former NHL star. 

*New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is beginning to raise questions with his play, and his massive price tag. 

*Youngsters Zach Weresnki and Dylan Larkin took similar paths to the NHL, and are both considered part of the talented young generation full of hockey stars. 

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri has Carey Price taking a nutty on Kyle Palmieri after the player crashed into his crease last night. Price is being celebrated for sticking up for himself, but if another goalie did that to a Habs player at the Bell Centre, there would already be a warrant out for his arrest. Play it both ways, Montreal!  

*For something completely different: here’s the aforementioned new Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer that looks pretty darn good. 

 

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

BOSTON – While the loss to the Avalanche on Thursday night was a monumental dud, it put another dazzling display on the hockey resume of David Pastrnak. 

The 20-year-old star right winger scored two more goals in the 4-2 loss at TD Garden and nearly brought the Bruins back into the game by himself before another defensive breakdown at the end of the second period doomed them. 

Instead, Pastrnak had to settle with being the proud owner of 18 goals scored in 23 games that places him in a tie with NHL superstar Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead in goals. 

The goals also showed his wide range of lethal offensive skills. On the first score, he just broke away from the Avalanche defense and managed to bury a second-effort breakaway chance after a nice Tim Schaller stretch pass off the boards. The second goal was a straight one-timer bomb from the high slot off a slick setup pass from Brad Marchand in the corner, and it had the Bruins right back into the mix after a dreadful first period. 

It wasn’t enough when the B’s defense faltered again toward the end of the second period, but it was enough for everybody to be singing Pastrnak’s praises once again following the loss. 

“He’s a game changer. The momentum is going the other way, and he has the ability to break away on any given shift and score a big goal for us. He did that tonight,” said Torey Krug. “We can’t just keep relying on the same guys to score goals. We’ve got to come up with secondary offense, and I know every other guy wants to do that. 

“Now it’s about showing that on the ice and making sure we’re doing the work and getting better and proving to ourselves. But Pasta [David Pastrnak] has been great for us so far, and we’re obviously lucky to have him.”

The 18 goals barely two months into the season are not too shabby for a kid, in his third NHL season, who just now coming into his own. He’s nearly halfway to 40 before Christmas. For Pastrnak, however, it’s about the team result and he wasn’t overly satisfied with his two goals in a losing effort. 

“I’ve said before the season that our goal is to make the playoffs and to have that experience and have the chance to win the Stanley Cup. I’m still focusing on that,” said Pastrnak, who has yet to experience the Stanley Cup playoffs in his two-plus seasons with the Black and Gold. “We have zero points from tonight’s game and we have to move on. I think our game gets better in the second and third periods, you know, and we have to regroup and get ready for Saturday’s game.”

The Bruins will undoubtedly regroup and once again count on another Pastrnak offensive explosion to help lead the way in what’s become a truly spectacular season for the youngster.