Calling it a “tough day,” Buffalo Sabres General Manager Kevyn Adams announced Wednesday afternoon the team fired head coach Ralph Krueger and assistant coach Steve Smith.
Assistant Don Granato will serve as coach for the duration of the season. Director of player personnel Matt Ellis and player development coach Dan Girardi will serve as his interim assistants.
“As you now know, I relieved Ralph Kruger and Steve Smith of their coaching duties,” Adams said. “They're great people; have a lot of respect for both of them. I want to thank them for what they did for this organization and, as I mentioned right at the beginning, it’s very difficult.”
Now on a 12-game winless streak, the Sabres are last in the NHL with a 6-18-4 record and 16 points.
Adams said, “For me, this is about results that haven't been good enough. I look and evaluate everything, and I was trying to take a real, honest, fair evaluation, understanding the adversity and the situation our team was in, taking it all into account; but it felt like the right time now, and this is about moving forward. This is about how do we improve.
“I do believe every crisis is an opportunity for positive change, and this is a chance for us to move forward and to begin to get this thing pointed in the right direction.”
He also said, “We have to be better in every single area of this organization. It starts with me. I need to manage better. I need to be better in every way. We need to coach better; we need to scout better; we need to develop players better; we need to practice better. I mean, you name it, we need to do it better, period. And I said it a couple weeks ago, it's unacceptable in every area. …
“We feel that we have to start to improve and, of course, results matter – this is a results business. And where we are is unacceptable. It speaks for itself, but it's deeper than that. And to change the culture and to do what we have to do to get this headed in the right direction, I felt this was the move we had to make.”