Sabres GM Jason Botterill spoke with Brian Duff prior to the 11:00 presser to introduce Ralph Krueger as his new head coach.
Botterill said Krueger has been on his radar for years due to the relationship Jim Rutherford has had with Krueger. Rutherford was Botterill’s GM in Pittsburgh. While with the Carolina Hurricanes, Rutherford hired Krueger to be the Canes’ European scout/consultant from 2005-10. The Canes won the Stanley Cup in 2006. Skinner, 26, was drafted seventh overall by the Canes in 2010, and played eight seasons in the Research Triangle.
I respect this Carolina connection between Rutherford and Krueger. Botterill thinks highly of his former boss Rutherford and respects his opinion.
Now, Botterill better get Skinner in a face to face meeting with Krueger. The sooner Skinner meets with Krueger the better for the Sabres and their pending UFA sniper.
The Buffalo Sabres have made it official.
Ralph Krueger is the 19th head coach in Buffalo Sabres franchise history.
Krueger is tasked with leading a young, talented, inconsistent Sabres squad to the Stanley Cup playoffs, something that has happened since 2011.
The team will introduce Krueger today at an 11:00am media conference in Buffalo. Krueger will not attend the presser because he still has business to tend to in Europe. Perhaps a Krueger conference call is in store for Tuesday afternoon.
Here is the official release from Sabres:
The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team has hired Ralph Krueger as the 19th head coach in franchise history.
“Throughout his career, Ralph has shown the ability to adapt to a variety of high-pressure environments while leading some of the world’s elite players,” Sabres General Manager Jason Botterill said. “His strong communication skills, leadership and diverse background make him a uniquely qualified candidate to lead our team going forward.”
Krueger’s most recent hockey experiences come in international competition. In 2014, he won a gold medal at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia as a consultant to Team Canada’s coaching staff. Most recently, he served as the head coach of Team Europe, who finished as runners up at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
“I am excited and honored to join the Buffalo Sabres family and will strive to maximize the potential that lies within this team,” Buffalo Sabres Head Coach Ralph Krueger said. “I look forward to building on the many positives that have been established within the organization and I am especially eager to get behind the bench and represent this passionate hockey city.”
At the NHL level, Krueger was named head coach of the Edmonton Oilers prior to the 2012-13 season after spending the 2010-11 and 2011-12 campaigns as the team’s associate coach. Prior to his time in Edmonton, Krueger served as a European Consultant for the Carolina Hurricanes from 2005 to 2010, capturing a Stanley Cup in 2006.
Krueger began his coaching career during the 1991-92 season as head coach of VEU Feldkirch in the Austrian Hockey League, where he spent seven seasons and led the team to five consecutive championships (1994 to 1998). He spent the next 12 years as head coach of the Swiss national team, serving behind Switzerland’s bench for three Winter Olympic Games and 12 IIHF World Championships.
A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Krueger recently spent over five seasons as the Chairman of Southampton Football Club, a soccer team that currently plays in England’s Premier League. During his tenure in England, Krueger helped guide Southampton to four consecutive top-eight finishes in England’s top league for the first time in the club’s 127-year history.
The pressure is still on Botterill to re-sign pending UFA sniper Jeff Skinner to a long term contract extension. Skinner, 26, tucked 40 goals in his first season in a Sabres sweater. Skinner is looking for $8 million average annual value on a long term contract.
Botterill must also acquire by free agency or trade a legitimate second line center to a lot in between Jack Eichel and Casey Mittelstadt.