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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Team Canada gets Ruff

Ex-Sabres bench boss won silver last time he guided team at world championship

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CALGARY -- The last man to coach Canada to a medal at the men's world hockey championship is back behind the bench.

Hockey Canada named Lindy Ruff the country's head coach for the 2013 world championship May 3-19 in Stockholm and Helsinki.

Ruff coached Canada to a silver medal at the 2009 world championship. Canada lost 2-1 to Russia in the final in Bern, Switzerland, and hasn't finished in the top three since then.

Ruff was also an associate coach for Mike Babcock on Canada's 2010 gold-medal Olympic team.

"I had two great experiences working with Team Canada and really want to make this a third," Ruff said Wednesday in Calgary.

Ruff was available to coach Canada because the Buffalo Sabres fired him Feb. 20.

The 53-year-old from Warburg, Alta., was in his 16th season behind Buffalo's bench and the NHL's longest-serving coach when he was sacked. Ruff is Buffalo's winningest coach with a record of 571-432-162.

Unaccustomed to idleness, Russ seemed relieved to have a hockey job again.

"It may be a little hard for you guys to understand, but when you're in it for that many years and you've been in the grind for that many years and all of a sudden you're out, that's a bad place to be," Ruff said. "It's a tough place to be.

"There's days you feel lost. It's a lonely feeling. There's been some good in it, not a lot, but I'm excited to get back going again."

Doug Shedden will be one of Ruff's assistant coaches with the rest of the coaching staff to be named within a week.

The coaches and the Canadian men's team management group, headed by Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman, will soon start inviting players to wear the Maple Leaf. Canada opens the tournament in Stockholm on May 4 against Denmark.

"Over the course of the next five or six days, we'll reach out to players who might be available," Yzerman said. "We wouldn't contact anybody prior to their team being officially eliminated."

Canada's world championship team is traditionally comprised of players whose NHL teams didn't make the playoffs or were eliminated in the first round.

Canada finished fifth at the 2012 world championship under Brent Sutter.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 18, 2013 D7

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