Lindy Ruff wasn't sure he was ready to say goodbye, but he was certain he wanted to say thank you. The former Sabres coach did just that today.

Ruff, fired Wednesday in his 16th year as head coach in Buffalo, appeared in First Niagara Center for a farewell address to Sabreland. He thanked team founders Seymour and Northrup Knox for bringing him to Buffalo as a player, and he thanked the team's other owners -- John Rigas, Tom Golisano, Larry Quinn, Dan DiPofi and Terry Pegula -- for keeping him around.

(In true Ruff style, he wittily said he'd skip the era when the NHL owned the bankrupt team.)

Ruff saved his most emotional thanks for the fans as he fought tears through a cracking voice.

"Last and most importantly is our fans," said Ruff, who spent 26 of his 53 years as part of the Sabres. "The people who have made this place special for myself and my family.

"It's a place I call home and always will call home. Western New York is where I'm going to live."