Monday, February 26, 2007


Sabres Fans Are 'Fine' With Helping Lindy Ruff

by Jes

Are Sabres fans nuts? Yeah, we've always known that...

They are taking fanaticism to a whole new level...

The Sabres stood up for their teammate when a vicious hit on Chris Drury sparked a wild donnybrook in Thursday's rip-roaring tilt between Buffalo and the Ottawa Senators.

Now some fans are sticking up for coach Lindy Ruff and their beloved hockey club.

A Town of Tonawanda man says he wants to collect money from businesses and the team's supporters to pay off the $10,000 fine slapped on Ruff by the National Hockey League.

"The fan base is behind the team. It was a cheap hit. It shouldn't have been a fine," said Patrick Ruffino, who will hold a fundraiser in an Elmwood Avenue pizzeria next week.

This may be the latest sign of how Sabres-crazy this town has gone, but it's not Ruffino's first sports fundraising campaign. In 1993, he successfully lobbied the Bills to keep "Shout" as the team's anthem after hefty royalty fees threatened its fate.

The Sabres released a statement late Sunday saying fans should not send in money because the team will pay Ruff's fine. But a team official said the club is glad Ruffino and others are so fired up about the Sabres.

"I think it's just another example of how loyal our fans are and how much this team has captured the hearts and minds of this community," spokesman Michael Gilbert told The Buffalo News.

Thursday night's melee grabbed the attention of local fans and the national sports media.

It started when Ottawa winger Chris Neil blindsided Drury after the Sabre forward already had shot the puck.

Drury flipped through the air, losing his helmet and hitting his head hard on the ice.

One teammate immediately went after Neil. Ruff then sent his toughest players onto the ice with the instructions to, he later admitted, "Go out and run 'em."

All 12 players on the ice - including both goalies - got involved in the scrap, while both coaches swore at each other from the teams' benches.

Ruffino watched the game and said Ruff acted appropriately under the circumstances.

The league saw it differently.

"The actions of his players - call it what you want, call it bullying - they just did the wrong thing," Colin Campbell, the league's disciplinarian, said.

On, a local sports-oriented blog, several writers bluntly criticized the Ruff fine.

"Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, the NHL pulls a bone-head stunt like this. Wow," Howie Mansfield wrote in a comment on the site.

Ruffino decided to set up the Lindy Ruff Fine Committee - with Ruffino as chairman - and is asking fans to donate money to cover the penalty.

"It's not an issue of the $10,000," said the Erie County Health Department employee. "It's the principle of it."

1. Given how much Lindy Ruff makes in comparison to the average Buffalonian, why would any one of the fans feel the need to donate to Ruff's 'cause'?

2. Good on the Sabres management for paying the fine for Ruff. Ruff was doing what he thought was 'right' to protect his players and stick up for them. It's obvious that the Sabres players have a lot of respect for Ruff and the management is proving their support for their coach by paying the fine for him. How would you like it if your boss stuck out your neck for you and then had it chopped off by the CEO?

3. Chris Drury wouldn't have lost his helmet in the first place if the frickin CHIN STRAP WAS ACTUALLY FASTENED TIGHTLY LIKE IT SHOULD BE!! When are these idiot players going to learn that a helmet is useless if your chin strap is hanging down to your shinpads?

4. "Shout"? Who in the hell really wants that as a team anthem?

5. Colin Campbell, as an ex-player, must have been churning inside when he said that quote. He knows better, and is probably right under the thumb of Bettman and his lawyer cronies to dole out a fine despite his personal wishes.

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This will end similarly to BoA's MacT relief fund from earlier this year: a few hundred dollars are raised, sent to a local charity, and everyone is satisfied that they made a point.
Talk in Buffalo from pretty much the beginning was that the money collected would be donated to the Sabres Foundation, a group of local charities, and not directly to Lindy. Golisano (owner) is richer than God so I agree that he probably doesn't need our help handling things like that.

The whole idea that this is largely Chris Drury's fault seems to be gaining some steam and it bothers me. I'd defintely agree that there are way too many players who wear their chinstraps at the middle of their chest but I've never noticed Chris as being one of those guys. Of course, the injury wouldn't have been as bad if his helmet had stayed on but it was a vicious hit and somethings things fly. (Legal, yes, okay. Still hard and still in the head area.) And it's difficult to watch both the play in front of you and the guy coming up at angle from behind you. I mean, it's hockey, these things are going to happen. I hate to see Dru, one of the class guys and ultimate professionals in the league, getting so much blame here.
I debated deleting some of the above just because I really don't want to get into an argument about the legality/intentions of Neil's hit. I'm going to leave it however and just add this clarification: I just hate that in a situation involving Chris Neil and Chris Drury, it's Drury who seems to be getting a lot of the blame. That's all, I swear.

Don't ever be afraid of speaking your mind here.

I'm not trying to turn Drury into the perp here, but I know the damage could be mitigated if these players would start tightening up the chin straps properly.
I am happy to see a city rally behind its team in the way Buffalo has. It makes me angry to see teams like NashVegas, who are potential Stanley Cup winners this season, just get thrown to the wolves.

I hate how Bettman is turning the NHL into a watered down, frozen version of the NBA, without the primadonnas and the assault charges.

Jes, we should pool our collective moneys together and call out a hit on Bettman. Maybe we can get Scott Stevens to do it, seeing as how killed Paul Kariya and Eric Lindros on numerous occasions.

It's a shame that more players don't use the chinstrap, much like they like gloves that don't protect their wrists.

Also, I sort of hope that the Choke-ators play Buffalo in the playoffs. It's been a while since there's been a good, old-fashioned donnybrook in the playoffs. Plus, if there's a series that is that violent, that'll draw the fans in spades, especially on TV.

Also, is it bad that Chris Drury, a former member of the Colorado Avalanche, has possibly converted me, a Red Wings/Leafs fan, into being a Buffalo fan?
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