Zeitgeist: Fired Lindy Ruff Looks to Rekindle Lost Hobbies Nash Bridges, The Verve

Former Sabres coach Lindy Ruff. (insert) Former Miami undercover detective Sonny Crockett

Fired by the Sabres on Wednesday after 16 years behind the bench, Lindy Ruff plans on using his sudden free time to get back into some interests he lost a long time ago.

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) _ Lindy Ruff spent 16 seasons behind the Buffalo Sabres bench, an impressive amount of time for one coach to remain with a single franchise. But running an NHL team requires countless hours of practice, preparation, video reviews and personnel management and leaves little room for hobbies.

Fired on Wednesday by the Sabres after a lackluster start to the season, Ruff said he plans on putting his new found free time to good use, renewing his interest in many of the pastimes that he had to leave behind over a decade and a half ago.

"I think I'll watch some TV. Just relax," a reserved Ruff said yesterday. "I really like that new show Nash Bridges and wanna catch up with that. Don Johnson is just such a great actor. Also, a show my wife just told me about is 7th Heaven, about a nice family with a buncha kids.

"The results weren't there and the team decided to go in another direction. But I hear there's a show about cops on bicycles, so I guess I can check that out now."

Ruff was hired by the Sabres in July of 1997 and leaves as the team's all-time winningest coach with 571 wins. During his time, 170 coaching colleagues lost their jobs. It's a figure Ruff is very familiar with, but had little time to reflect on until now.

"Every time a friend or rival was cut loose, it would remind me of that song the kids like, 'Bittersweet Symphony'," he said. "I was really getting into that band The Verve and now I have the time to pick up their other albums. Hopefully, I'll have a chance to see a show of theirs soon."

In his second season as coach, Ruff led the Sabres to an appearance in the Stanley Cup final, losing to Dallas. The long playoff run cemented Ruff's stature as a no-nonsense boss behind the bench that continued for over a decade.

But without a gig for the first time in a long time, Ruff looks forward to enjoying activities that would surprise those who immediately picture his scowling face when thinking of him.

"Just before getting hired, I bought a video game thing ... a Nintendo 64," he said, shrugging his shoulders. "I have a bunch of games. Um...Super Mario, Ken Griffey baseball, some James Bond game. It'll be nice to finally sit down, get some friends together in the basement and just play.

"I also bought Airframe, that new book by Michael Crichton, but I never got around to reading it. I liked that dinosaur book he did."

Ruff would not say if he was looking for a new job or if he had been contacted by any teams yet. But he did hint that if he were to take over another team, he may change the style that has been his signature for so long.

"First thing I do tomorrow," he said, "is take five minutes to shave off this goddamn mustache."

___

This is a parody. Ruff is definitely more of a JAG fan.

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