Tonawanda News

June 30, 2013

Dallas is a fine fit for Ruff

By Eric DuVall
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — A busy week in the news so lots of opinions were made:

Former Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff was hired by the Dallas Stars, the team that defeated Ruff’s 1999 squad in the Stanley Cup finals, Brett Hull’s left skate notwithstanding.

The odd history aside, Dallas is a perfect fit for Ruff and for Sabres fans, not least of which this one, who still want to root for an old friend.

Dallas is a young team that’s lacked a steady hand at the coaching helm for some time. Ruff certainly provides some continuity. 

And it’s plenty far away from Buffalo. We only play Dallas once a year so the game in question is not likely to be of particular significance in the standings. 

It could have been much worse if he’d been hired in, say, New York, where we’d see him far more frequently and would likely wind up in a playoff race against the Rangers at some point.

There were some groans in Sabre Nation about Ruff going to coach the Stars. That’s lame. Dallas was unquestionably the better team in that series. Dominik Hasek was the only reason a mediocre squad made it so far.

Sure No Goal will always sting, but with Ruff in Big D I’d pull for a second Stars cup if they made the finals — always provided it isn’t a ‘99 rematch.

•••

Lots of news from the Supreme Court, most of it good — or at least not bad.

We covered affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act on Wednesday but suffice to say it was a mixed bag.

Later came the court’s historic ruling, striking down the odious Defense of Marriage Act and a technical ruling that has the effect of permitting same-sex marriages in California.

The DOMA decision felt somewhat anti-climactic here in New York when the real fight for marriage equality was won in Albany two years ago. Avid court-watchers seemed rather confident DOMA was headed for history’s scrap heap. Justice Anthony Kennedy has a history of siding with individual liberty over government action and though lots of conservatives will say otherwise, that was precisely the dynamic in play here.

I found myself chuckling as the arch conservative Justice Antonin Scalia fumed from the bench the DOMA decision will pave the way toward challenges to state-level anti-gay marriage laws. For once, I thought, I hope Scalia is right.

•••

Back to the Lonestar State.

They say everything is bigger in Texas but it was the Herculean efforts of a slight state senator from Fort Worth that grabbed headlines last week. 

Wendy Davis and her pink sneakers (tin-is shoes, as they call them down there) became a Twitter all star and rising star in Democratic politics for her 11-hour filibuster to help talk away a bill that would effectively close almost every abortion clinic in the state.

As a midnight deadline approached, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, a Republican proponent of the bill, managed to silence Davis and try to call a vote in the minutes before the legislative session’s end. A raucous gallery shouted loud enough protesters said they felt the building shake.

By the time Republicans were able to figure out what had happened, the clock struck 12 and the bill turned into a pumpkin — or whatever bills turn into when their sponsors can’t figure out what the hell is going on.

That didn’t stop them from trying. A vote tally originally time-stamped 12:03 a.m. was changed to show it having been taken before midnight but after hours of confusion, the GOP majority admitted defeat — and called another special session starting Monday to try again.

•••

Finally, a personal (and belated) note of congratulations to News City Editor Neale Gulley, who was married last weekend to his lovely wife Katie. Their outdoor ceremony at Prospect Point on the American side of Niagara Falls was beautiful, as was the reception at the often overlooked but gorgeous Bond Lake Park Warming House in Ransomville.

After a much-deserved week off, Neale will be back on the desk Monday, sporting a new wedding band.

Congratulations to the happy couple.

Eric DuVall is the managing editor of the Tonawanda News. Contact him at eric.duvall@tonawanda-news.com or follow him on Twitter, @EricRDuVall.