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Rangers assistant Lindy Ruff emerges as candidate in Devils' coaching search, report says

Rangers assistant coach Lindy Ruff looks on during

Rangers assistant coach Lindy Ruff looks on during a game against the Devils at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 9, 2017. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Rangers assistant coach Lindy Ruff has been identified as a candidate for the head coaching position with the Devils, according to a report from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. In a tweet, Friedman said Ruff is one of five known candidates, the others being incumbent interim coach Alain Nasreddine, former Islanders coach Peter Laviolette, Gerard Gallant and John Stevens.

Ruff, 60, has been an assistant with the Rangers since 2017, after he was fired as coach of the Dallas Stars. Ruff served as an assistant under Alain Vigneault in 2017-18 and was one of two holdovers from that staff – goaltending coach Benoit Allaire being the other – to remain with the team when David Quinn took over in 2018. Ruff, a defenseman for 12 seasons in the NHL, including parts of three seasons with the Rangers, handles the defense and the penalty killing unit.

Ruff began his NHL coaching career in 1997 with the Buffalo Sabres and coached them for 15 seasons before being fired 17 games into the 2012-13 season. He earned NHL Coach of the Year honors in 2005-06. After leaving Buffalo, he coached Dallas for four seasons, making the playoffs twice, before joining the Rangers.

Ruff was a candidate for the Rangers job after Vigneault was fired, but the job went to Quinn. Ruff has coached 1,493 games in the NHL, with a record of 736-554-78. He has 10 playoff appearances in his career, and reached the Stanley Cup Final in his second season with Buffalo in 1999, losing to Dallas.

Hed goes here. Forward Pavel Buchnevich and goaltender Igor Shesterkin have returned to New York from Russia and Florida, respectively, in preparation for the July 10 opening of NHL training camps. Neither player has skated with the Rangers in their Phase 2, small group training, because they are observing return-to-play quarantine rules. Both are expected to be cleared to practice by the end of this week.

Forward Kaapo Kakko and goaltender Alexandar Georgiev are expected to return to New York from Finland late this week. With the NHL looking to restart after having shut down March 12 because of COVID-19, players coming back to their home cities who are subject to some kind of quarantine before being able to practice must have that requirement completed so they are ready to go when camp starts.

Phase 4 of the NHL’s return will be 24 teams playing games, including 16 teams playing a best-of-5 play-in series to advance to the 16-team playoffs. The Rangers, the No. 11 seed in the Eastern Conference, will face No. 6 Carolina in the play-in series.

New York Sports