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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Going gets Ruff in Big D

Playoff-hungry Stars hire former Sabres coach

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DALLAS -- Lindy Ruff had one stipulation when he agreed to meet with the Dallas Stars about their coaching vacancy.

"We can't meet in the crease," Ruff said about his joking conversation with new Stars general manager Jim Nill.

Ruff was hired Friday the new coach of the Stars, 14 years after Dallas clinched its only Stanley Cup championship on a goal he has always questioned -- Brett Hull's shot with his skate in the crease late in the third overtime of Game 6 that beat the Ruff-coached Buffalo Sabres.

"It's a long time ago," Ruff said after his introduction. "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... It all worked out great for Dallas.

"It didn't work out so good for us back then. I can tell you one thing, that same emotion and same passion will be here in Dallas if the same type of thing happens or anything similar, because that's the fire I have."

The Stars, who have missed the playoffs the past five seasons, gave the 53-year-old Ruff a four-year contract. He is the 22nd coach in franchise history and seventh since the team moved to North Texas in 1993.

Before being fired by Buffalo in February, Ruff had been the Sabres coach for 15 seasons and was the NHL's longest active-serving coach with one team.

The Sabres' only Stanley Cup appearance under Ruff came in that 1999 final known for the "No Goal!" chant that Ruff joined thousands of Buffalo fans in after the series was over. They thought Hull's skate was in the goalie's crease before he had control of the puck and the goal shouldn't have been allowed.

"The league said it was a goal. I just argued that it wasn't," Ruff said. "... It's all behind me."

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 22, 2013 C5

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