Back in 2016, general manager Jason Botterill reached out to Ralph Krueger about the opening here in Buffalo. Could he be the next man to lead the Sabres?
But, at the time, he was tied up as the chairman of Southampton, a football team that plays in the Premiere League in England. He’s no longer under those obligations and Botterill believes now is the time for Krueger to lead the Sabres.
“Certainly, with Ralph’s resume, I know he had other opportunities,” Botterill said. “That’s what gets us excited is he wanted to come here. He wanted to be a part of our group here. He loves coaching. He has a passion for being a teacher.”
Prior to the announcement Wednesday morning, there was a belief Krueger wanted to have more of a front office role if he returned hockey. The 59-year-old said that wasn’t necessarily the case.
“I have to tell you first and foremost when it was clear I was stepping away from Southampton, I opened up my viewfinder and a lot of opportunities started coming. There was nothing that lit that fire as much as my conversations with Jason and I could feel the coaching magnet pulling me back.”
Krueger is now tasked with lighting a fire under a Sabres team that has vastly underperformed and currently owns the longest active playoff drought in the NHL. So, what’s the plan? Communicate and develop players to enable them to play a complete 200-foot game.
“That’ll be high on our agenda is to put that gameplan in to place quite quickly to become a competitor and contender in April. That’s where we want to be hanging around.”
And, if Krueger can do that, he’ll be hanging around for a while, too.