According to TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger, former Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff appears to have the inside track on the Dallas Stars head coaching job but it's not done yet.
The Fort Worth Star Telegram reported on Thursday that the Stars are the process of hiring Ruff for the job. The newspaper reported that Stars president Jim Lites told a Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce luncheon that he and Ruff shook hands after their last meeting and that barring any unforeseen circumstances Ruff would take over for the recently dismissed Glen Gulutzan.
Dreger tweeted that former New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella also had a strong interview with the Stars, and Dallas general manager Jim Nill is expected to spend a couple of days with Ruff before a final decision is made.
Ruff, who was hired by the Sabres in 1997, had a 16-season tenure in Buffalo, during which he became the franchise's winningest coach (571-432-162).
Under Ruff, the Sabres made the playoffs in each of his first four seasons and eight times overall. That included a surprising run to the Stanley Cup Final in 1999, when Buffalo lost to the Stars.
The Sabres, however, haven't been the same since reaching the Eastern Conference final -- losing both times -- in both 2006 and '07. Buffalo has missed the playoffs in three of the past five seasons.
Gulutzan was the Stars' coach for two seasons, and Dallas missed the playoffs in both of them.