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Lindy Ruff Has New Jersey Devils Off To Dominant Start

Story posted December 2, 2022 in

It has been quite the start for the New Jersey Devils this season under head coach Lindy Ruff in his third year in Newark, a pleasant surprise to fans in the Garden State.

Lindy has bounced around the league since 1997, serving long head coaching tenures in Buffalo, winning 571 games, and Dallas, winning 165 games, before becoming an assistant coach for the Rangers. Ruff hopes to beat his career best, 53 wins from his 2006-07 season with the Sabres this year in New Jersey.

After his stint in New York, Devils’ former general manager, Lou Lamoriello selected Ruff to become the next head coach of his franchise.

Throughout his coaching career, Ruff has struggled to piece together a team that is capable of making a deep playoff run, especially in New Jersey, and players and fans have not been afraid to voice their displeasure.

Devils’ fans entered this season hungry for a coaching change following years of lacking any success and underachieving, and began to call for Ruff’s job following an 0-2 start. Since Ruff was thrown on the hot seat in early October, he has led the team on a tear, winning 15 of their last 16 appearances. Fans have since apologized for chanting “Fire Lindy” in the Devils’ home opener back in October.

In last Saturday’s 5-1 win over the Washington Capitals, Lindy received a standing ovation from fans at the “Rock” following the final buzzer, as he became just the fifth coach in NHL history to reach 800 career wins. Ruff now joins the likes of Ken Hitchcock, Barry Trotz, Joel Quenneville and Scotty Bowman, who have reached the 800 win milestone.

Ruff’s squad has stayed atop of the Metropolitan Division for quite some time now and continues to fluctuate between the league’s top three teams.

Ruff and the organization are well aware that this is the team and now is the time to return the team to the Stanley Cup playoffs, which would be only the third time in the past decade. Lindy has made it clear in the locker room that anything short of a deep postseason run would be a disappointment with the amount of high end talent that his team has.

The 2005-06 Jack Adams award winner told the media following his 800th win, “It means I’ve been around a long time,” Ruff added. “Great to win the game. Again, you got to do a lot of right things, have good teams and the way our team is playing I have to give them a lot of credit for getting me there.”

Ruff has gained a lot of respect in the league over his 25-year coaching career and has the chance to surpass Ken Hitchcock for the fourth all-time winningest coach in league history with 48 more wins. He has made it clear that although individual milestones are an honor, he is more worried about coaching a successful team and creating a winning culture.

As the season goes on, current general manager, Tom Fitzgerald has a decision to make; whether or not to re-sign Ruff. If the Devils’ success continues into the postseason, many anticipate him inking a new deal in New Jersey, and possibly getting nominated for his second Jack Adams Coach of the Year award.


Owen Gelber is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email omg5144@psu.edu.