After losing their 12th straight game in a 6-0 loss to the Washington Capitals, the Buffalo Sabres announced Wednesday morning that Head Coach Ralph Krueger has been relieved of his coaching duties. Sabres assistant coach Steve Smith was also let go from the team alongside Krueger. General Manager Kevyn Adams announced that assistant coach Don Granato will take over, while Dan Girardi and Matt Ellis were named assistant coaches.
The move to fire Krueger felt long overdue, as the Sabres continued their downward spiral in the NHL and it was clear a housecleaning was needed. GM Kevyn Adams addressed the media later Wednesday and sounded completely disappointed in where this team was at and flat out angry at the present situation. “There has to be a pride that goes with putting on a Buffalo Sabres Jersey,” the first year GM said. “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 the season and have that characteristic about our team, it’s going to be unacceptable.”
Adams also said the head coaching search would start “immediately”, but would not go into specifics about what qualities he is looking for in the team’s next bench boss. Hopefully he, alongside the Pegula’s, take into account experience when making this decision. It has been downright embarrassing since the hockey club’s return from their COVID break, and with the trade deadline looming, several players, including Taylor Hall and Eric Staal, could be traded away for picks and prospects. This could leave the team with little options moving forward. It will be interesting to see what happens beyond this year, with the new coach being hired and hopefully being able to carefully choose his staff.
In the end, the Ralph Krueger experiment just didn’t work out. Krueger always tried to be positive and have the players buy into that mindset, but it is a results driven business. 12 losses in a row almost certainly would get any coach in the NHL fired, especially with a team on the brink of missing 10 consecutive postseasons. To his credit, Ralph Krueger always did interviews, answered questions and really wanted to win here in Buffalo, however, it is time for a change to be made. Hopefully Kevyn Adams gets this right and gives Sabres fans a reason to look forward to filling the arena and watching and supporting their local hockey team again. No shortcuts, no excuses, no other way around it, this could be the last chance for the organization to make this right before this turns into a meltdown within this fan base, if there isn’t one already taking place.