BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — "I need to be better in every way. We need to coach better, scout better, develop players better, practice better. You name it, we need to do it better, period."
It wasn't an easy decision for GM Kevyn Adams, but it was a decision that had to be made. On Wednesday the Sabres relieved head coach Ralph Krueger of his duties, midway through the 2021 season and less than two years from the day he was hired.
"This is about results that haven't been good enough. I look and evaluate everything and I was trying to take a real honest fair evaluation, understanding the adversity and the situation our team was in, taking it all into account," Adams said about why Ralph's firing came Wednesday morning. "But it felt like the right time now and this is about moving forward."
For fans, it felt like a long time coming. The Sabres are off to a 6-18-4 start and are currently winless in 12 straight games [0-10-2] dating back to February 23rd. In that time span, the Sabres have been shut out four times and outscored 49-19. Adams plans on having a conversation with the players on Thursday when they return to the building for a morning skate.
"There has to be a pride in putting on a Sabres jersey," Adams said. "I don't care where we are in the standings right now. If we can't show up at the rink and for the rest of the season, have that characteristic about our team, it's going to be unacceptable. As we evaluate and scout players, that's going to be a part of it. You have to show up every day to compete and love to be a Buffalo Sabre."
Krueger becomes the latest victim of the Sabres' head coach carousel. Since Lindy Ruff's firing in 2013, five coaches [Ron Rolston, Ted Nolan, Dan Bylsma, Phil Housley, Krueger] have been hired and let go with each lasting no more than two full seasons.
"The focus is moving forward. I understand from the fan base and the media that's been living through this over the last couple of years, I have sympathy. I get it. I understand," Adams said about the outside frustration. "It's about getting this right and moving forward and doing anything and everything to make that happen."
Along with Krueger's firing, assistant coach Steve Smith was also let go. The team announced Don Granato would take over as interim head coach with Matt Ellis and Dan Girardi joining the team as assistant coaches. Granato will coach tomorrow's home game against Boston.
"There's always a transition and finding your way and we have 28 games in 53 days coming up," Adams said. "It's going to move fast but I have no doubt all three of them will jump right in."
A search for Krueger's permanent replacement is effective immediately. Adams says they don't plan on rushing into a decision, saying it's about "getting the right person".