Krueger inspires Sabres, but knows he’s here to win


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Whether it was on Thursday when players first reported to training camp or following their first training sessions on Friday, it’s clear that new head coach Ralph Krueger has built a strong relationship with his players.

“It was positive at the end of the first session. It’s been a long time coming and it was just a lot of fun to be out there with the guys,” Krueger told reporters following practice on Friday. “The energy was excellent, the work ethic, compliment to the players for that and really enjoyed it.”

Krueger has been referred to as a “great guy” and a “great communicator,” and, as a coach that easily connects with players.

“Ralph is a really good guy. He’s very down to earth and easy to talk to,” said netminder Linus Ullmark on Friday.  “There’s no denying he’s a great guy and I have lots of respect all ready.”

“With a new coach, I think with any coach, everybody has their different ways to coach and different ways to connects with players and the staff,” added defenseman Brandon Montour.  “From talking with him the last couple of days, I’m excited to see what he brings. Having a coach like that come into the league, as a newer coach, another fresh start for him, he’s excited to work with us so it’s good both ways.”

But, while the new bench boss always seems to have a smile on his face and an aura of positivity, Krueger knows there will be times where adversity strikes and his message needs to get across.

“Positive isn’t always friendly,” he told reporters.  “Positive is constructive. Positive is working toward solutions and if a player gets sent down, we’ll be really clear on why and what has to be worked on and how you get back here and be ‘number one’ in the slot to get the call.

“For me, it’s not about smiley, friendly. I’m not a smiley, friendly guy and I’m not here to be popular.  I’m here to get a job done and be respected so, I’ll work hard on that. And that’s the way I see positive. I see it in the way you drive people toward getting better and working toward solutions.”

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