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To be a winning team, one must emulate a winning team

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The Sabres next head coach should have a resume that compares to the previous Stanley Cup winning coaches

Buffalo Sabres Training Camp
Ralph Krueger at Sabres practice
Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images

Today the Buffalo Sabres relieved Ralph Krueger of his head coaching position. Interim head coach Dan Granato will be the seventh head coach since the Pegulas bought the team in 2011.

When the Pegulas bought the Sabres they promised a winning organization with the primary goal of winning the Stanley Cup. That promise was made 10 years ago and the Sabres are currently the worst team in the NHL.

If they want to win a Stanley Cup they need to emulate a Stanley Cup-winning team. This next hire should be the final one for years. No successful organization is changing head coaches this quickly.

The Resume Needs to be Comparable

The Sabres must hire a coach with a proven track record. They need to stop hiring coaches with “a different outlook” or a “unique approach” to the game. Find a coach that will implement good systems and has experience throughout every level of hockey.

It’s astonishing how different Ralph Kruegers’ resume is compared to the former Stanley Cup-winning coaches.

Here are the resumes of the previous five Stanley Cup winning coaches

2020 Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning

1999-00 Lansing Catholic Central USHS-MI Head Coach

2000-01 Capital Centre Pride NAHL Asst. Coach

2001-02 Metro Jets CSHL Head Coach

2002-03 HoneyBaked 18u AAA Head Coach

2003-06 Texarkana Bandits NAHL GM/ Head Coach

2006-07 St. Louis Bandits NAHL GM/ Head Coach

2008-09 Green Bay Gamblers USHL GM/ Head Coach

2010-12 Norfolk Admirals AHL Head Coach

2012-13 Syracuse Crunch AHL Head Coach

2013-present Tampa Bay Lightning NHL Head Coach

*Career Highlights

04-05 NAHL Coach of the Year

05-06 NAHL Coach of the Year

06-07 NAHL Robertson Cup Champion

07-08 NAHL Coach of the Year

NAHL Robertson Cup Champion

08-09 USHL General Manager of the year

09-10 USHL Clark Cup Champion

USHL Coach of the Year

USHL General Manager of the Year

11-12 AHL Calder Cup Champion

AHL Coach of the Year

12-13 AHL All-Star Game

16-17 World Championship Silver Medal

17-18 NHL All-Star Game (Head Coach)

18-19 NHL All-Star Game (Head Coach)

19-20 NHL Stanley Cup Champion


2019 Craig Berube of the St. Louis Blues

Former NHL player, played over 1,000 games spanning over 17 years

2004-06 Philadelphia Phantoms AHL Asst. Coach

2006-07 Philadelphia Phantoms AHL Head Coach

2006-07 Philadelphia Flyers NHL Asst. Coach

2007-08 Philadelphia Phantoms AHL Head Coach

2008-14 Philadelphia Flyers NHL Asst. Coach

2014-15 Philadelphia Flyers NHL Head Coach

2015-16 Not active

2016-17 Chicago Wolves AHL Head Coach

2017-18 St. Louis Blues NHL Assoc. Coach

2018-present St. Louis Blues NHL Assoc. & Head Coach

*Career Highlights

04-05 AHL Calder Cup Champion

18-19 NHL Stanley Cup Champion


2018 Barry Trotz of the Washington Capitals

1984-85 University of Manitoba CIAU Asst. Coach

1985-87 Dauphin Kings MJHL GM/ Head Coach

1987-88 Univ. Manitoba CIAU Head Scout

Spokane Chiefs WHL Scout

1988-91 Washington Capitals NHL Scout

1991-92 Baltimore Skipjacks AHL Asst. Coach

1992-93 Baltimore Skipjacks AHL Head Coach

1993-97 Portland Pirates AHL Head Coach

1997-98 Nashville Predators NHL Scout

1998-14 Nashville Predators NHL Head Coach

2014-18 Washington Capitals NHL Head Coach

2018- present New York Islanders NHL Head Coach

*Career Highlights

93-94 AHL Calder Cup CHampion

AHL Coach of the Year

94-95 AHL All-Star Game

02-03 World Championship Gold Medal

08-09 World Championship Silver Medal

15-16 NHL All-Star Game (Head Coach)

NHL Coach of the Year (Jack Adams Award)

16-17 World Cup Gold Medal

17-18 NHL All-Star Game (Head Coach)

NHL Stanley Cup Champions

18-19 NHL Coach of the Year (Jack Adams Award)


2016 & 2017 Mike Sullivan of the Pittsburgh Penguins

Played 11 years in the NHL

2002-03 Providence Bruins AHL Head Coach

Boston Bruins NHL Asst. Coach

2003-06 Boston Bruins NHL Head Coach

2006-09 Tampa Bay Lightning NHL Asst. Coach

2009-13 New York Rangers NHL Asst. Coach

2013-14 Vancouver Canucks NHL Asst. Coach

2014-15 Chicago Blackhawks NHL Dev. Coach

2015-16 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins AHL Head Coach

Pittsburgh Penguins NHL Head Coach

2016-present Pittsburgh Penguins NHL Head Coach

*Career Highlights

15-16 NHL STanley Cup Champion

16-17 Stanley Cup Champion


Ralph Krueger

1989-90 Duisburger SV Germany2 Player-Coach

1991-98 VEU Feldkirch Austria Head Coach

1998-99 Switzerland WC Head Coach

International Head Coach

1999-00 Switzerland WC Head Coach

International Head Coach

2000-01 Switzerland WC Head Coach

2001-02 Switzerland OG Head Coach

WC Head Coach

2002-04 Switzerland WC Head Coach

2004-05 Switzerland OGQ Head Coach

WC Head Coach

2005-06 Switzerland OG Head Coach

WC Head Coach

2006-07 Switzerland WC Head Coach

International Head Coach

2007-09 Switzerland WC Head Coach

2009-10 Switzerland OG Head Coach

2010-12 Edmonton Oilers NHL Asst. Coach

2012-13 Edmonton Oilers NHL Head Coach

2013-14 Canada OG Team Consultant

2014-16 Not Active

2016-17 Team Europe WCup Head Coach

2017-19 Not active

2019-21 Buffalo Sabres NHL Head Coach

*Career Highlights

93-94 Austria Champions

94-95 Austria Champions

95-96 Austria Champions

96-97 Austria Champions

97-98 Austria Champions

European Hockey League (EHL) Champions

99-00 Swiss Hockey Special Award

05-06 NL Coach of the YEar

09-10 Swiss Hockey Special Award

13-14 Olympic Gold Medal

16-17 World Cup runner up


*Information gathered from Elite Prospects

I am not a proponent of head coaches needing to be a former NHL player but they do need experience throughout different leagues. Players and coaches need to have commonality. The next Sabres head coach needs to have been around the game for at least a decade and know the in’s and out’s. They must come with a prepared system that will work with the team's skillset. After this next hire, the organization shouldn’t think about a new head coach until they have made the playoffs a few times.