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Prince-Wright: Krueger 'doesn't want to close the door on anything'

Lead soccer writer of ProSoccerTalk joined Howard and Jeremy with thoughts on former NHL head coach Ralph Krueger

Howard & Jeremy | Weekdays 6a-10a
May 17, 2017 - 11:38 am
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The search for a head coach of the Buffalo Sabres is in its early stages as many names have been brought up as possible targets, but none of those names have been known to have interviewed for the job.

It has been rumored that the Sabres could look to interview Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach Rick Tocchet for the job, while NHL Network's Chuck Gormley reported on Monday that Washington Capitals associate coach Todd Reirden is "in the hunt" for the job.

Now we can throw another name into the hat of possible head coaching candidates for the Sabres - former Edmonton Oilers head coach Ralph Krueger

It was first reported by TSN's Pierre LeBrun on Tuesday that Sabres general manager Jason Botterill may want to talk with Krueger about the team's open head coaching vacancy. However, LeBrun was unsure if Krueger would be available or interested to speak with the team.

Krueger, 57, is currently serving as the chairman of the Southampton Football Club in the English Premier League where he has been since 2014. According to Joe Prince-Wright of NBC Sports' ProSoccerTalk, Krueger has been offered two NHL head coaching jobs this postseason and has turned down both jobs.

Krueger had success this past September with Team Europe at the World Cup of Hockey, coaching them to the World Cup of Hockey Final against Team Canada. In his one season coaching with the Oilers in the lockout-shortened 2013 season, Krueger finished with a 19-22-7 record and was relieved of his duties.

Prince-Wright joined Howard Simon and Jeremy White on Wednesday for his thoughts on Krueger and what he has done with Southampton in the Premier League. Prince-Wright also gives his opinion on if he thinks Krueger would return to the NHL if the opportunity presents itself.

Here are some of the most notable things he said:


On Krueger turning things around in Southampton:

"He arrived in 2014, the club was a bit of a mess and he arrived as a figure-head, sort of a leader and chairman of the club. He knew the Liebherr family who owns Southampton... He led Southampton from the chairman to the chairman's perspective to one of the best seasons ever in club history. He's done very well in terms of building the brand globally, he's been in contact with the [United States>. He's just a very impressive guy."

"Southampton is a very small city, smaller than Buffalo, but they have been competing with the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, and Chelsea in the last few years since he arrived. They positioned in the top-six of the Premier League last season and they're in eighth place right now, and they're in a bit of a transitional period. They had a new manager come in, he said there's a lot to sort out and that he feels like he can kick them up to the next level. He's been very impressive. No one really knew who he was when he came in, but whatever he seems to do he has a really big impact. Just like we saw at the World Cup of Hockey last year with Team Europe."

"He's very well respected within the Premier League. In three years, he's turned himself into a big figure for the club. The fans like him, the management like him, and the players all seem to as well. He's one of those guys that you just want to work for, play for. He's very energetic."

 

On Krueger's future with Southampton:

"I spoke to him yesterday and he says he's very happy in Southampton, but he doesn't want to close the door on anything in life. Hockey is definitely still on the forefront of his mind even though he is doing wonderful things over her in the Premier League."

"I get the feeling that with how well Team Europe did [at the World Cup of Hockey>, of course there's going to be interest. Just don't know if now is the best time. Next year maybe would be the best fit for him, but he's the kind of guy if something energizes him and it's a new, exciting project that he would make the move. I talked to Wayne Gretzky at a Premier League game last year and he was raving about Krueger when he was in Edmonton... He's impressive in whatever he does."

 

You can listen to the full interview below:

05-17 Joe Prince-Wright from NBC ProSoccerTalk with Howard and Jeremy on Ralph Krueger.mp3