Ralph Krueger feels well enough to coach the Sabres from behind the bench tonight. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Ralph Krueger plans to coach behind bench; Sabres move Don Granato

BUFFALO – Coach Ralph Krueger, who recently recovered from COVID-19 and returned to the Sabres on Sunday, plans to be behind the bench tonight against the New York Islanders at KeyBank Center.

“I feel good to go,” Krueger said on a Zoom call this morning. “Obviously, with the strong support around me it makes it easier where they’ve done an excellent job. But I felt really good in the skate today and meetings this morning with coaches and interacting with players here and there.”

But the Sabres’ COVID problems will force them to switch two coaches.

Krueger said assistant coach Don Granato, who was hospitalized with severe pneumonia in 2019, will move upstairs to be the “eye in the sky.” Mike Bales, the assistant who normally fills that role, will move to the bench beside Krueger and assistant Steve Smith.

Krueger said Granato will still be in charge of the power play and come down between periods to meet with the coaching staff.

“One of the things that’s really good about the way we work here is everybody knows everything about everybody,” Krueger said. “There’s no secrets here. We communicate openly. We’ve been meeting for months and months before the season started in different forms so it’s very fluid and very easy to make these kinds of adjustments and the players are always just feeling the same language.”

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