The Buffalo Sabres have hired Ralph Krueger as their new head coach. The team made the announcement Wednesday.
“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.”
Fans will likely remember Krueger’s last tenure in the NHL as coach of the Edmonton Oilers. He was in charge of the lockout-shortened 2012-2013 season and posted a 19-22-7 record. The Oilers missed the playoffs and he was fired.
Krueger also coached Team Europe in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
The Winnipeg-born coach began his career behind the bench abroad with EV Duisburg in Germany. He was an associate coach, then headed to Austria’s VEU Feldkirch in the mid-1990s. While there, he led the club to a championship and eventually took over as the head coach of the Swiss national team. He led the Swiss to considerable success, including at three Olympic Games and a handful of World Championship appearances.
Before Krueger joined the Oilers as an associate in 2010, he spent time with the Carolina Hurricanes as a scouting consultant.
With Edmonton, Krueger was eventually promoted to the head coaching gig and the rest is history.
In 2014, he was tagged as the special adviser to Team Canada’s squad for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Krueger’s return to the NHL comes at an interesting time for the Sabres’ organization, as they are searching for leadership for a young team. He replaces the ousted Phil Housley, who was fired after two years with Buffalo – including a 16-33-8 slide after November this season. The Sabres hold the longest active streak for missing the playoffs.
Krueger is the latest in a long line of coaches for the Sabres, the latest episode of a carousel of coaches that began with the 2012-2013 ousting of Lindy Ruff and ran through Ron Rolston, Ted Nolan and Dan Bylsma before Housley’s misadventure. You have to imagine Buffalo is hoping they finally found their man.
(Photo credit: Darryl Dyck/CP)