After much speculation, Sabres GM Jason Botterill will be hiring Ralph Krueger to be the next head coach of the Buffalo Sabres.
Elliotte Friedman suggested the Krueger hiring would happen “as soon as tomorrow” during a TV interview in Tuesday afternoon.
Late Tuesday night, the news broke that Krueger is Buffalo bound.
I’m told that Botterill, a co-general of the Team Canada entry currently competing at the IIHF World Championships in Bratislava, Slovakia , returned to Buffalo to attend scouting meetings.
There is a likelihood that will be a formal announcement and introductory presser this week in Buffalo.
The Winnipeg native served as chairman of English Premier League's Southampton Football Club since March 2014 and was dismissed by the team in April.
Krueger also coached Switzerland's national team at Olympic Winter Games appearances in 2002, 2006 and 2010.
Krueger is a veteran leader with documented success building winning culture in pro sports. Krueger is known for his power of positivity and his ability to lead his players by empowering them as stakeholders within the team structure.
Pierre Lebrun spoke with Krueger weeks ago about his future as general manager of Southampton in the English Premier League.
Lebrun reported that the Sabres interviewed seven candidates in total to succeed Phil Housley . We know that Krueger and Dave Tippett were interviewed. We also know the Sabres did not interview Team Sweden head coach Rikard Grönborg.
Sabres GM Jason Botterill reached out to Krueger a few years ago when he was looking for a head coach of the Sabres.
Krueger, 59, has a small sample size of NHL head coaching experience with the Edmonton Oilers in 2012-2013. In 48 games as the Oilers leader, Krueger had a 19-22-7 record.
Krueger also served as the head coach for Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Krueger was also an important member of Mike Babcock’s Team Canada coaching staff at the 2014 Sochi Games.
“You can never say never about coaching, but I really enjoy the growth of actually being in a role where you hire the best possible people, so that everybody you bring into an organization is actually better than you at what they do,’’ Krueger told Lebrun. “That kind of became my goal here in Southampton. I think just the driving of a culture in a professional sports organization has become really my new passion and I could see bringing that back into North America someday. I really think that we do some things in the Premier League and in global football that are unique and different. And I think if you amalgamated and mixed the two together, it could be pretty powerful for an organization.’’
Last season, Phil Housley coaches the Sabres to a 27th place finish with a 33-39-10 record (76 points). The Sabres missed the playoffs by 22 points. The Sabres finishes with a -45 goal differential.
The 2018-19 Sabres joined the 2016-17 Philadelphia Flyers as the only teams in NHL history to no earn a playoff berth in a season in which the team won at least 10 consecutive games. The Sabres imploded after their early season 10 game winning streak and lost 41 of its final 57 games.
No pressure, Ralph.
The Buffalo Sabres are a hot mess right now.
Unrestricted free agent sniper Jeff Skinner is waiting patiently for his GM to get off his duff and hire a head coach already top replace Phil Houlsey who was fired in April.
And, oh by the way, the Sabres now have three defensemen in a world of hurt right now.
On Tuesday, Hockey Team Canada co-general manager Ron Francis announced brutal news that Buffalo Sabres defenceman Brandon Montour will miss the remainder of the 2019 IIHF World Championship with a lower-body injury sustained Monday against Slovakia.
“It’s disappointing to see a player like Brandon get hurt at his first world championship,” said Ron Francis, a member of the management group with Canada’s National Men’s Team. “He is a key player who brought so much to the team, and although he won’t be able to continue, we were impressed with his work ethic on and off the ice. We wish him all the best in his recovery.”
The 25 year-old defenseman was representing Canada for the first time, going without a point in three preliminary-round games. Sabres GM Jason Botteril is also co-GM for Team Canada. Botterill has sent Montour home to Buffalo from Slovakia to have his player evaluated by team orthopedic physicians.
Montour (55th overall, 2014) was traded to Buffalo from Anaheim for defenseman Brendan Guhle in February.
In 20 games played with the Sabres, Montour scored 3 gpapls and added 7 assist to go along with the 5G, 20A he scored in 62 games with the Ducks prior to the trade.
Montour's 21:46 ATOI in 20 games was t sehecond highest on the Sabres behind Rasmus Ristolainen's 24:38 ATOI.
In his 20 games played with the Sabres in 2018-19, Montour saw dramatic increases in scoring rates in goals (.34), assists (.68) and points (1.02) per 60 minutes played at 5-on-5 compared to his rates from the last two seasons.
On Monday, the Sabres announced that defenseman Lawrence Pilut had undergone successful shoulder surgery. The procedure has an estimated recovery time of five to six months. The 24 year old rookie scored 1G,5A in 33 games with the Sabres this season while averaging 17:25 TOI.
Last week, Jason Botterill announced that veteran defenseman Zach Bogosian had undergone successful hip surgery. The procedure has an estimated recovery time of five to six months. Bogosian, 28, played in 65 games this season scoring 3G,16A while averaging 21:38 TOI.
All you Ramsus Ristolainen haters beware. The fesity Finn will not be traded any time soon. There is no way in hell that Botterill can trade away the 24 year old right shot D with so much pain and acrimony killing his D corps right now.