BUFFALO – When new Sabres coach Ralph Krueger visited here with his wife, Glenda, last month, he decided to tap into the city.
So Krueger, then an unknown candidate, said he went bar hopping to watch some NHL playoff games, never staying at one location more than one period.
“He actually spent a weekend here, went to a lot of different establishments, I guess a little bit undercover,” Sabres general manager Jason Botterill said this morning inside KeyBank Center. “I don’t think that’ll be able to happen as he moves on here.”
Krueger, 59, said experiencing Buffalo allowed him to enjoy conversations with fans he wouldn’t be able to have now.
“It was very enlightening,” Krueger said on a conference call this afternoon after being introduced as the 19th head coach in Sabres history. “I certainly could feel the spirit of the city. I loved the city, the architecture and just the size. I can feel it’s a hardworking community and it’s a place that my wife and I feel very comfortable coming to live there.
“Of course, above all, the environment that I’ll be working in will be a match to what I was looking for.”
He added: “My wife and I are not huge city people. We love the type of city that Buffalo is. It’s very real. There’s a warmth there and a passion for especially hockey. That is important to me. There’s a history there that I as a coach have always found important to be working in an environment where there’s a responsibility.
“We matter in Buffalo, and that matters to me as a head coach. I want that pressure. I want that responsibility if I’m going to work in an environment. We’re an important part of what Buffalo is all about.”