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Hamilton: No vote of confidence for Sabres coach Ralph Krueger from GM Kevyn Adams

The Buffalo Sabres general manager spoke to the media for the first time since the team returned from its COVID-19 outbreak in mid-February.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams spoke on Friday and the anger in his voice was undeniable.

The Sabres GM wanted to speak from his heart and I think he did. He ranted about it’s his job the raise the standard around here and that won’t be hard since there really isn’t a standard.

There were a few things I noticed from Adams. First, he never even came close to giving Ralph Krueger a vote of confidence. He talked about the team’s performance being unacceptable. He really ripped into the lack of competitiveness from this team.

He wants to see passion, he wants to see compete, and he’s seeing very little of it. When your GM doesn’t think you’re competitive enough as a professional athlete, I think you’re in trouble as a team.

Adams confirmed that Jack Eichel has not asked to be traded and that he’s listened to offers, but he told teams he’s not interested. He never made calls himself to trade him.

In my mind it’s looking more and more as if Adams is going to have to just rip the whole thing down. Adams said he doesn’t think that’s necessary.

“I don’t believe in a full-fledged rebuild where you say it’s going to take us this many years," he said. "It’s just flat out not good enough. I’m angry, and I would hope that all of you are, and I would hope that all our fans are because that means you care.

“We need to be better, and I’ve been empowered by Kim and Terry Pegula to fix this, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

The other part of Adams talk that hit me was he says he will not tolerate excuses. In his mind, you figure it out.

This team rarely gives a 60-minute effort, and Adams said, “I will never, ever have a team that makes excuses or talks about, 'Oh, my confidence is down.' Focus on what you can control, and what you can control is going out there and working as hard as you can in every practice and every game, and that’s it, and confidence can build from that.

"So for me, I will never tolerate excuses, I won’t tolerate the fact that we’ve had injuries or COVID or adversity. So have other teams, and you’ve got to battle through it, and you’ve got to find a way.”

Listening to that that means we’ll see a lot of trades before next season because he has quite a few excuse-makers on this team.

Krueger reminds me of Rex Ryan. Part of the reason Ryan was a horrendous football coach was he wouldn’t adapt to the players he had on defense. He made the Bills play his system, even though they didn’t have the personnel to do so.

Good coaches coach to their players strengths, and Krueger will have none of it. He said his system is non-negotiable and that it’s the only way to win.

Well, I have news for him. His players don’t buy into it and they don’t play it. Krueger won’t change it, and by the end of the year at the latest, it will cost him his job.