Lindy Ruff is the new coach of the Dallas Stars, the team that clinched their only Stanley Cup championship on a goal he has always questioned.
Ruff was hired Friday by the Stars, 14 years after he joined thousands of Buffalo fans in the chant of "No goal!" in the aftermath of Brett Hull's Cup-clinching shot late in the third overtime of Game 6 in the 1999 Stanley Cup finals.
"It's a long time ago," Ruff said after being introduced. "I've had some great memories. I've gotten past that. I'm a coach, I want to coach, and this is an unbelievable opportunity."
That was the Sabres' only Stanley Cup appearance under Ruff, in his second season as Buffalo's coach.
While the Stars celebrated the title, Ruff questioned whether the goal should have been allowed for Hull's skate being in the goalie's crease before having control of the puck.
Ruff joked Friday that when he first agreed to meet with
about the job that his only stipulation was, "we can't meet in the crease."
It was 14 years ago Thursday that Game 6 ended in the early morning -- more than 15 minutes into the third overtime.
Ruff coached 15 seasons for the Buffalo Sabres before being fired in February. He was the NHL's longest active-serving coach with one team.
Ruff was the first significant hire for
Nill said when he started the search, the attributes that he was looking for in a coach included experience, credibility and knowledge.
"All these attributes were checked off," Nill said.
Two weeks after Nill was hired,
The Stars missed the playoffs for the fifth season in a row, the longest postseason drought in team history. They were 22-22-4 last season, last in the Pacific Division.
Since Ruff still had two seasons left on his contract with Buffalo, the Stars had to get permission from the Sabres to talk to the 53-year-old coach.
Ruff was the Sabres' winningest coach (571-432-162), but was fired after Buffalo got off to a 6-10-1 in this year's NHL lockout-shortened season. There had been 170 NHL coaching changes between his hiring in July 1997 and the time he was fired.
Under Ruff, the Sabres made the playoffs in each of his first four seasons and eight times overall. They made the Eastern Conference finals in 2006 and 2007.
As a player, Ruff was selected in the second round of the 1979 draft by the Sabres and made the team that year. He was later the Sabres' captain, playing for Buffalo until being traded to the New York Rangers in 1989.