BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Sabres coach Lindy Ruff and general manager
Darcy Regier have agreed to new contracts, allowing Buffalo to
retain the architects of a team coming off consecutive Eastern
Conference finals appearances.
The deals will be announced later this week, a person familiar
with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Tuesday. The
person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Sabres have
not yet announced the signings.
The news doesn't come as a surprise after Regier said last week
he expected both he and Ruff to be back for next season after both
completed the final year of their contracts.
Sabres spokesman Michael Gilbert declined comment.
Buffalo is coming off a disappointing finish, failing to achieve
its Stanley Cup goals. The top-seeded Sabres were eliminated by
Ottawa in Game 5 of the East finals last month. It marked the
second straight season they reached the conference finals and lost
after dropping Game 7 to eventual champion Carolina in 2006.
Ruff is a finalist to win his second consecutive Jack Adams
Trophy as the NHL's coach of the year. He is the franchise's
winningest coach, registering a 358-289-71 record over nine
seasons, and the longest tenured NHL coach with the same team over
Ruff also has a team-best 52-36 postseason record, including one
Stanley Cup final appearance in 1999, when the Sabres lost in six
games to Dallas.
Regier has been the GM since 1997, and credited for leading the
franchise through it's lowest point, in January 2003, when the
Sabres were without an owner and forced to declare bankruptcy. He's
also credited with having the foresight to build a fast and
offensively talented group that's been the model of success since
the NHL returned from its lockout in the summer of 2005.
The Sabres are coming off back-to-back 50-win seasons, including
a franchise-best 53-win campaign this past year, to win their first
Presidents' Trophy for finishing first in the overall NHL
Regier's most pressing task is attempting to re-sign the team's
two core players, co-captains Chris Drury and Daniel Briere. Both
are eligible to become free agents July 1 and expected to command
$5 million-plus salaries.
Representatives for both players said the team has yet to
contact them to open negotiations.