Ruff, Regier agree to new deals to stay with Sabres

Updated: June 13, 2007, 1:11 PM ET
Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Sabres coach Lindy Ruff and general manager Darcy Regier have agreed to new contracts, allowing Buffalo to retain the architects of a team coming off consecutive Eastern Conference finals appearances.

The deals will be announced later this week, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Tuesday. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Sabres have not yet announced the signings.

The news doesn't come as a surprise after Regier said last week he expected both he and Ruff to be back for next season after both completed the final year of their contracts.

Sabres spokesman Michael Gilbert declined comment.

Buffalo is coming off a disappointing finish, failing to achieve its Stanley Cup goals. The top-seeded Sabres were eliminated by Ottawa in Game 5 of the East finals last month. It marked the second straight season they reached the conference finals and lost after dropping Game 7 to eventual champion Carolina in 2006.

Ruff is a finalist to win his second consecutive Jack Adams Trophy as the NHL's coach of the year. He is the franchise's winningest coach, registering a 358-289-71 record over nine seasons, and the longest tenured NHL coach with the same team over that span.

Ruff also has a team-best 52-36 postseason record, including one Stanley Cup final appearance in 1999, when the Sabres lost in six games to Dallas.

Regier has been the GM since 1997, and credited for leading the franchise through it's lowest point, in January 2003, when the Sabres were without an owner and forced to declare bankruptcy. He's also credited with having the foresight to build a fast and offensively talented group that's been the model of success since the NHL returned from its lockout in the summer of 2005.

The Sabres are coming off back-to-back 50-win seasons, including a franchise-best 53-win campaign this past year, to win their first Presidents' Trophy for finishing first in the overall NHL standings.

Regier's most pressing task is attempting to re-sign the team's two core players, co-captains Chris Drury and Daniel Briere. Both are eligible to become free agents July 1 and expected to command $5 million-plus salaries.

Representatives for both players said the team has yet to contact them to open negotiations.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press