BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Ralph Krueger’s first season as the bench boss for the Buffalo Sabres is over, but the impact he has made through the first twelve months of his tenure has already made a lasting impression on the team.
“I feel like Ralph really helped me out a lot, and the whole coaching staff. I feel he’s probably one of the best coaches I’ve had, and I like the system he brought,” Rasmus Ristolainen said. “I feel like a big reason I took some steps forward, in our system we played more as a unit, forwards helped defensemen more, and the other way around too.”
In the postseason Zoom press conferences on Thursday, Sabres captain Jack Eichel attributed a lot of the leadership that he has exuded in his best NHL season to the leadership he sees from Krueger on a day-to-day basis.
“It’s been a pleasure working with Ralph,” Jack Eichel said. “He does so much for our group every day. There are tough times, and he does an amazing job of bringing us back in, narrowing our focus, and getting us back to where we need to be mentally.”
Though the Sabres finished the season without a playoff appearance for the ninth straight season, the players say Krueger is helping to change the culture of the team, on and off the ice.
“Even from Zoom calls with him, he’s just got that knack to motivate, especially when times are tough. I would be shocked if anyone has said a bad word about him, because there’s nothing bad to say about him,” Sam Reinhart said. “Just the respect he garners from each individual is something to behold. He’s been a leader in our dressing room, and I’m really excited to see how he’s going to be able to keep us all together this summer and really motivate us deep into the fall.”
“It would be a tough thing not to get motivated when he’s speaking. His messages are extremely clear and concise, and there’s not a lot of wiggle room with what he said and the message that he tried to deliver,” Kyle Okposo said.