BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - After 16 years behind the Sabres' bench, Lindy Ruff will be back in Buffalo but coaching against them for the first time.
Ruff has more immediate concerns with his new team, the Dallas Stars, but he has allowed himself to think about returning to a city that enshrined him in its Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.
The Stars face the Sabres in Buffalo on Monday night.
"I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought about it," Ruff said Saturday after a shootout loss to Winnipeg that dropped Dallas to 4-5-1 and into last place in the Central Division.
"It's going to be great walking in the building, say hello to old faces," Ruff said. "I've got a lot of good friends there, good memories. We had a lot of great hockey in there. It'll be a good day. I want to see our team play really well."
Ruff's ties to Buffalo go back to his days as a player. Selected in the second round of the 1979 draft by the Sabres, Ruff made the team later that year. In November 1986, he replaced star Gilbert Perreault as Sabres captain.
With a 571-432-162 record, Ruff is the Sabres' winningest coach. He is second on the NHL list for wins with one team, behind only the New York Islanders' Al Arbour (740).
Ruff has kept his home in suburban Buffalo, where his wife and kids are living. He will embrace the visitor role on Monday when the Stars start a stretch in which they will play five of six on the road.
"The No. 1 thing on my mind is our (1-4) road record," Ruff said. "Really focusing in on that on this road trip. It's not like I've been gone a long time, so it's not like I'm walking up and I've been missing for two or three years."