BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Alex Tuch is ready for his childhood team to once again become a contender. He knows the return to relevance won't happen overnight, but he's excited for the journey as he plays games in the same arena where he watched his favorite team as a kid.
"I was welcomed with open arms and it was a very exciting time to come home and look forward to putting on the jersey of my hometown team," Tuch said in a sit down interview with 7 sports.
Like many of you, I was curious how big of a #Sabres fan Alex Tuch actually was as a kid. I asked him today if he had a favorite player growing up. I no longer have any doubts *one of us GIF* @WKBW pic.twitter.com/Xrpktsivux— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) January 27, 2022
Tuch, 25, was acquired in the trade that sent former Sabres captain Jack Eichel to Las Vegas.
The Syracuse native has already made his presence felt in Buffalo, scoring 12 points in his first 12 games. To put in perspective just how impressive Tuch's start in Buffalo has been, he has the fourth-most points by any player acquired in a trade during their first 12 games with the organization. Only Doug Gilmour [19 points], Pat LaFontaine [14 points], and Ryan O'Reilly [13 points] have scored more.
While individual success is nice, Tuch is more concerned with wins, which are few and far between. Despite some promising signs from the Sabres' young roster, Buffalo has the fifth-fewest points in the NHL and is 18 points out of a playoff spot. But to borrow a phrase from Bills head coach Sean McDermott, Tuch says this is all part of the process.
"I'm a big believer in the three F's. Find it, fix it, and forget about it," Tuch said. "This is a downtime in our organization. We have to move on to the next thing and be better every game, and it's not looking too far ahead at the same time. [You can't think] like hey, in four or five years we're going to be unbelievable. You have to think about now and get better now."
One of the ways Tuch plans on achieving that success is by making sure everyone in the organization is on the same page. When he first arrived in Buffalo, Tuch introduced himself to everyone he crossed paths with. He credits former teammate Marc-Andre Fleury as the inspiration behind his plan because sometimes those little things make a big difference.
"I know firsthand that it takes more than just the players in the locker room to make this thing go round and make us successful," Tuch said. "It starts from ownership, trickles down to management, goes to the players, people in the front office, people behind the scenes, into the trainers, the medical staff, and the coaching staff. Everybody is part of it and I really truly believe that. And I know success doesn't come from one or two people, it comes from a mass of people who are all bought into the same system."
When Alex Tuch got traded to the Sabres he introduced himself to everyone he crossed paths with. He said it wasn’t a big but deal realizes it’s important to build a connection with everyone in the organization. He learned that from Marc-Andre Fleury #Sabres #VegasBorn @WKBW pic.twitter.com/s0o3rKZBs1— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) February 1, 2022
Tuch has a vision and big expectations. For the last four seasons all he knows is winning, as the Golden Knights have become a perennial power. That's his goal for the Sabres, and a city that's starving for a winner.
"We're going to show the city of Buffalo our heart and our passion. Show them how hard we want to work every single day. Like I said, the wins may not always be there. But we want to give them a fun experience on the ice and we want to show them we can score goals and we're going to compete."
I sat down with Alex Tuch today. It was the first time we've ever met. It was one of the most refreshing interviews I've had with a professional athlete. He just seems like a really nice guy who happens to be a great hockey player. I'm sure the Sabres are thrilled to have him.— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) January 27, 2022