Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Lindy Ruff
Lindy Ruff had a reputation as a rough, tough defenseman while skating for the Lethbridge Broncos of the WCJHL from 1977 to 1979. He appeared headed for draft-day greatness until he broke his thighbone during his final year of junior. As such, many clubs backed off from the idea of picking up the big rearguard, classifying him as an unknown commodity.

The Buffalo Sabres, however, chose defenseman Mike Ramsey in the first round and then took what they considered to be a chance on Ruff in the next round. And their risk paid dividends when, at the start of the 1979-80 campaign, Sabre defenders Jerry Korab and Jim Schoenfeld went down with injuries. Ruff jumped onto the Sabres' blueline as an underager and made such an impression that he earned himself a permanent NHL job for the next 12 seasons.

The team's management was immediately impressed with Ruff's leadership qualities and his willingness to step his game up, particularly on a physical level when the club wasn't performing well. In 1983-84, he was moved up to play three seasons of left wing. After a time, he couldn't decide which position he liked best, the blueline or a forward line. Ultimately he claims to have enjoyed the variety of both worlds.

Near the end of Ruff's tenure with the Sabres, he was appointed the team's captain. He continued his strong leadership and solid defensive play until his trade to the New York Rangers in 1989. With the Rangers, Ruff patrolled the blueline until age and injuries slowed him down. In 1991-92, he got his first and final ticket to the minors where he skated for the Rochester Americans of the AHL and the San Diego Gulls of the IHL where he retired in 1979.

Since leaving the ice, Ruff has worked as an assistant coach for the Florida Panthers and is currently the head coach of the Buffalo Sabres. As the Sabre's bench boss, he led his troops to the Stanley Cup finals where the club lost to the Dallas Stars in 1999.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1976-77 Taber Golden Suns AJHL 60 13 33 46 112
1976-77 Lethbridge Broncos WCJHL 2 0 2 2 0
1977-78 Lethbridge Broncos WCJHL 66 9 24 33 219 8 2 8 10 4
1978-79 Lethbridge Broncos WHL 24 9 18 27 108 6 0 1 1 0
1979-80 Buffalo Sabres NHL 63 5 14 19 38 -2 8 1 1 2 19
1980-81 Buffalo Sabres NHL 65 8 18 26 121 +3 6 3 1 4 23
1981-82 Buffalo Sabres NHL 79 16 32 48 194 +1 4 0 0 0 28
1982-83 Buffalo Sabres NHL 60 12 17 29 130 +15 10 4 2 6 47
1983-84 Buffalo Sabres NHL 58 14 31 45 101 +15 3 1 0 1 9
1984-85 Buffalo Sabres NHL 39 13 11 24 45 -1 5 2 4 6 15
1985-86 Buffalo Sabres NHL 54 20 12 32 158 +8
1986-87 Buffalo Sabres NHL 50 6 14 20 74 -12
1987-88 Buffalo Sabres NHL 77 2 23 25 179 -9 6 0 2 2 23
1988-89 Buffalo Sabres NHL 63 6 11 17 86 -17
1988-89 New York Rangers NHL 13 0 5 5 31 -6 2 0 0 0 17
1989-90 New York Rangers NHL 56 3 6 9 80 -10 8 0 3 3 12
1990-91 New York Rangers NHL 14 0 1 1 27 -2
1991-92 Rochester Americans AHL 62 10 24 34 110 13 0 4 4 18
1992-93 San Diego Gulls IHL 81 10 32 42 100 14 1 6 7 26
1993-1997 Florida Panthers NHLMGNT
1997-2000 Buffalo Sabres NHLMGNT
NHL Totals 691 105 195 300 1264 52 11 13 24 193


Traded to NY Rangers by Buffalo for NY Rangers' 5th round pick (Richard Smehlik) in 1990 NHL Draft, March 7, 1989. Signed as a free agent by San Diego (IHL), August 24, 1992.
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