BUFFALO, N.Y. — Most of Jason Botterill's news conference on Wednesday focused on Ralph Krueger's varied experience as he was named the 19th head coach in Sabres franchise history. The fact that while his NHL experience is limited, he's had success in the pressure cooker of international play.
The Sabres are in the midst of an eight-year playoff drought. Botterill says he expects the end of that to come soon.
"You always want to win, and in a lot of our exit interviews with players this year we realized that. They got a taste of it. Just like our fans got a taste of it in November and December, our players got a taste of it... and they want more of it. That's what we are right now. We should be in the discussion for playoffs... and once you get in the playoffs, as you've seen the last couple of weeks, you always have an opportunity. Now, are we there? Certainly not. Our results speak for themselves the last couple of years, but we believe hiring Ralph, the changes we're going to make to the team this summer, will put us in that discussion next year."
Krueger was dealing with a personal situation in Europe, but did speak to the media via conference call and echoed Botterill's remarks.
"Above all this group is ready to become a contender... and compete with anybody on any given night... and I'm confident we can become that kind of a team quite quickly."
Krueger says he will join Botterill in Slovakia next week as the World Championships continue. He says he will spend time getting to know Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart who are playing in the tournament.
Krueger also says it will be a priority to build a relationship with forward Jeff Skinner who is set to become an unrestricted free agent in July.