Thu, Mar 18, 2021
By Jim Vassallo (Veri.bet Writer)
Buffalo Sabres Ralph Krueger has been fired by the team after enduring a 12-game losing streak. The Sabres promptly went out and lost a 13th straight game, 4-1 to the Boston Bruins. The Sabres are in a position to match the NHL record for consecutive seasons without a playoff appearance at 10.
Buffalo is in eighth place in the East, six points behind the New Jersey Devils. They have just 16 points on the season, the fewest in the league. This season was Krueger’s second at the helm of the Sabres. In his first season, Buffalo finished 30-31-8 and in sixth place, missing the playoffs.
Krueger was an interesting hire in the first place, having only been a head coach in the NHL for a total of 48 games during the 2012-2013 season with the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers went 19-22-7 during his sting. Krueger has also spent time as the Swiss national team head coach.
When his time with the Oilers ended Krueger switched sports and moved to soccer, holding various positions in the front office of a few teams in the English Premier League.
Don Granato will finish the season as the interim head coach for the Sabres. General Manager Kevyn Adams said that the team will begin a search for a full-time head coach immediately. Adams noted that he considered taking over as interim head coach but realized it would pull him away from his duties as GM with the trade deadline looming in April.
"For me, this is about results that hadn't been good enough," Adams said after the firing. "I was trying to take a real, honest, fair evaluation, understanding the adversity and the situation our team was in - taking it all into account - but it felt like the right time now, and this is about moving forward."
"Ultimately wins and losses are what you’re judged on and what happens in the standing,s but it’s deeper than that... The players really, really love Ralph Krueger. They respect him and believe in Ralph... so understanding that dynamic of where our locker room was like obviously talking to a lot of players, how are they doing with each other."
Adams has a lot of work to do in his first season as the GM of the Sabres. He is working to hire an assistant general manager right now. He is also starting to field calls and make calls to other teams about the roster with the trade deadline on the horizon.
“I don’t care where we are in the standings right now. If we do not show up at the rink tomorrow and for the rest of that season have that characteristic about our team, it’s going to be unacceptable," Adams said. "That is going to be a message and something that I’m going to spend time on. As we evaluate players, as we scout players, that needs to be part of it. You just have to love to show up every day and want to compete and be a Buffalo Sabre."