Krueger: October was a confirmation of how we want to play

Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger joined Howard and Sal on Wednesday to recap Buffalo's first month of the season

Howard & Jeremy | Weekdays 6a-10a
October 30, 2019 - 12:49 pm

Photo: Nicholas T. LoVerde - Getty Images

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The Buffalo Sabres are currently in the midst of a three-day break between games, the team's longest since the 2019-20 season began.

While we're only a month into the season, the rest is needed after playing 13 games in 24 days, and it's also well-deserved. Regardless of the results of the games on Wednesday's slate, the Sabres will finish the month of October with 20 points and a record of 9-2-2, which slots them in a tie with the Boston Bruins for first place in the Atlantic Division.

While the Sabres have gotten great performances from players all throughout the lineup, there are some individuals who're standing out among the NHL's best. Jack Eichel currently ranks seventh in scoring with 17 points, while goaltenders Linus Ullmark (.932) and Carter Hutton (.926) rank sixth and 10th respectively in save percentage.

There are still many areas that Buffalo can improve in, and the team is still waiting for a few players to return from injury. However, the first few weeks of this year's campaign have been promising, and things seem to only be looking up for the Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger. 

Krueger joined the Howard and Jeremy Show on Wednesday morning for his weekly appearance on WGR. The trio touched on a number of topics, including the indicators that show a team is/can be successful, when players like Brandon Montour and Marco Scandella will return from injury, how Rasmus Dahlin and Henri Jokiharju have performed this season, and more. 

Here is some of what he had to say:

 

Krueger on what indicates that a team is good/ready to win:

"For me, it begins with [the players'] commitment to a plan, and the buy-in that the team brings. A good team for me is a team that's playing and working towards it's potential, whatever that potential may be. We're still certainly too early into the season to understand or to see what [this team's] potential is. I think when you're 20 to 25 games in [to the season], you have a better read than now. But, we're on the right track to be able to assess them [the team]."

 

Krueger on the first month of the season and managing the tight schedule:

"13 [games] in 24 [days] to start the season, we all looked at that with serious respect. We were wondering how we were going to manage that, and I'm so pleased with the work off the ice the players have been doing and how we've been able to leave out quite a few normal ice practices; whether it's pre-game on game days or other days where we need to do things off-ice to keep our minds and bodies fresh. We learned to how to manage that. We knew it was coming at us, and we know it's coming at us again after the Sweden trip. I thought the group has manged [the season] very well."

 

Krueger on Rasmus Dahlin, Henri Jokiharju, and pairing them together:

"[Dahlin] is a very young defenseman who's continuing to find the best path for him to bring his amazing skill set into the game. He's committed to playing defense. He's committed to finding his work. [Assistant coach] Steve Smith works with him on a daily basis in a very positive environment. He's a motivated kid. With the puck, we all see the opportunity there. He launches a lot of really good transitions in our game. He'll jump into the play the way we like our defenseman to do when we do gain possession."

"[Jokiharju] has been a very positive surprise in the season so far. He's an excellent two-way defenseman. He also is able to make a play under pressure. Extremely committed to his work without the puck and defensively. You can see that he's got a little bit more experience under his belt [than Dahlin], but together the two of them have been exciting to watch. At the moment we felt Jokiharju was the right partner [for Dahlin], but we'll re-assess that as we head towards Washington."

 

Krueger on Hutton and Ullmark:

"Their performances have been outstanding. They're giving us a chance to win every night. There were a lot of people that were looking at [the goals] that went in [against Arizona], but you had to look at Hutton giving us a chance to win that game. We had multiple chances against Arizona, to first of all pull away from them, and then even when the game was tight, to actually win it because of the goaltending performance we got. That's what they do for us on a daily basis. They give us a chance to win. They've been solid. They really work the puck well too, which helps our offense break out of the [defensive] zone. [Goalie coach] Mike Bales has done an excellent job there with the goalies. That's definitely a good duo, which is what you need in the NHL today."

 

You can listen to the entire interview below:

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