Last June during draft week in Vancouver, I was invited by the NHL Coaches’ Association at their annual Coaches Clinic conference to moderate a panel featuring Scotty Bowman, Darryl Sutter and Terry Crisp.
When Ralph Krueger first arrived in Buffalo back in June, he acknowledged he would need to educate himself on how the National Hockey League had changed during his six-year absence.
He came to Buffalo a relative unknown. When Ralph Krueger was hired as head coach of the Buffalo Sabres, he was not considered a slam-dunk candidate.
“You are trying to make the player into a better player and a better person every time you speak to him,” said Krueger, in his first season as Sabres coach. That was one of the lessons imparted to more than 100 coaches from the Swedish Ice Hockey Association who attended the two-day coaching clinic held here in connection with the Global Series.
‘I do have a different perception’: Ralph Krueger on how his unique trajectory and mindset led him to Buffalo
Ralph Krueger sees things differently than most people. That’s true in the grandest of schemes with his role as a motivational speaker. It’s true in hockey, too. The Sabres coach has worked all over the world, which has helped him avoid the cookie-cutter mindset that develops when people stay in one place for too long.
No matter what happens during the NHL’s off-season, it’s hard to imagine a more interesting and risky behind-the-bench hire than Buffalo’s decision to bring Ralph Krueger aboard.