BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Ralph Krueger era kicks off on Friday as the Sabres take the ice for the first official practice of the 2019-2020 season, but as the players reported for training camp on Thursday, high praise and excitement for Krueger and his leadership style was the overwhelming sentiment.
“We haven’t really talked about hockey yet,” Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin said. “He’s a really good man, he’s a lot about really getting to know you as a person, so that’s basically what we’ve done in the last couple of days.”
“He’s not like a traditional coach, and that’s something new.”
Forward Marcus Johansson joins the Sabres from the Boston Bruins this season, and one of the big reasons he decided to come to Buffalo is because of his conversations with Krueger.
“I think especially talking to Ralph, I felt like he has good ideas, good values, and I think that was really what got me to sign here,” Johansson said. “Obviously there are a lot of young players with a really bright future, so that’s something I’m excited to be a part of.”
Krueger is the third coach in three years for Sabres star Jeff Skinner,
“He’s passionate, I think he’s excited, obviously he’s pretty intelligent with his resume, I think it’s pretty unique,” Skinner said.
“I think as a player seeing a guy that passionate and that excited to get going, that can kind of become contagious,” Skinner said. “I think it’s fun to be around, so I’m excited to get going and play for him.”
“I’m really excited and I like his plans for us for the future and the system he’s trying to get us in,” Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen said.
“I think he brings a great energy to the rink, a lot of positivity to him, he’s super excited and I think that makes the guys super excited,” Sabres centerman Jack Eichel said.
“I think automatically his plans and his mindset are really good, and I think the guys have responded well to it.”
The Sabres 50th season kicks off on Friday morning when they take the ice for the first practice of the season. A few short days later, they will take on Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first preseason game on Monday at 7 pm at the Pegula Ice Arena on the campus of Penn State University.