Lindy Ruff was fired today by the Buffalo Sabres. He was hired on July 21, 1997, which is pretty incredible. I turned eight years old that day, and your life was probably considerably different then too.
The Flyers have had seven head coaches since Ruff was hired in 1997: Wayne Cashman, Roger Neilson, Craig Ramsay, Bill Barber, Ken Hitchcock, John Stevens and Peter Laviolette. Just amazing stuff.
Ruff's Sabres were a thorn in the Flyers' side for years. The Flyers beat the Sabres in the 1997 Conference Semifinals on their way to an Eastern Conference Championship, but in Ruff's first season behind the Buffalo bench in 1997-98, he earned his first playoff series win in the Eastern Quarterfinals, dispatching the Flyers in five games.
Philadelphia got revenge in the first round of the 2000 playoffs, beating Buffalo in five, but in two of the next five years, the Flyers would lose to Ruff and the Sabres twice in the postseason -- in the 2001 Eastern Quarters and the same round in 2006. That 2006 series was particularly fun, despite the loss.
Remember the war of words between Ruff and Hitchcock?
"Tell Lindy to fuck off."
Ruff got into it with Peter Laviolette a little bit during the 2011 playoffs, which ultimately turned out to be Lindy's last playoff series with the Sabres. You remember the whole Mass Murder thing, right? Ruff certainly had a tendency to be a lightning rod for controversy, but it's hard not to respect the ability to stay with one team for 16 years. Truly remarkable stuff. He'll have another job pretty quickly.