November 27, 2019
Howard & Jeremy (8 a.m.)
Howard Simon: Ralph, it’s Howard and Jeremy. Good morning, how are you?
Ralph Krueger: Good morning, gents. It’s good to be back in Buffalo.
HS: So what’s your Thanksgiving plan? What are you doing for tomorrow?
RK: Well you have to remember my life has been predominantly in Europe over the last decades and I grew up before that in Canada, so it’s my first Thanksgiving on U.S. soil while being here so I’ll probably be watching and seeing what everybody does here in America during Thanksgiving.
HS: Well you get to experience watching a Bills game on Thanksgiving, it doesn’t happen that often, but you’ll have to do that tomorrow.
RK: Yeah, that’ll be a lot of fun. Always enjoy watching the Bills, and I’m really happy how they’re performing and the city’s embracing that. Sean McDermott’s doing a hell of a job there.
HS: Injury update; is there any time frame on Rasmus Dahlin at this point?
RK: No. We’ve had a bit of a grind of late and adding Rasmus to the list is quite disappointing, but again, it’s truly — when you’re dealing with concussions, it’s a day-to-day issue. We’re not expecting him for the next days, but we hope it’s a quick recovery, but again, it’s difficult to guess the timelines on an injury like that.
HS: What was your reaction when you heard that [Erik] Cernak got two games?
RK: We would have rather had a five-minute major within the game because that kind of suspension really does us no good; we don’t see Tampa Bay for a while. But at least it’s confirmation that it was what we thought it was. The player has received a reprimand for that, which is important because that’s the kind of hitting we don’t want to see in the National Hockey League.
HS: Did the refs tell you they just didn’t see it? They missed it?
HS: With Marcus Johansson, Ralph, what’s the update on his return date?
RK: Yeah, I mean we’re going to take a look at him today. He stayed back here in Buffalo. We worked together with him with our rehab team in Buffalo and it looks like it’s progressed positively. We hope that the pre-game skate goes well today. He’s still a question mark for tonight, but I would say more on the positive side of seeing him in the lineup.
HS: And weirdly, that — I’m trying to think, is there anybody else getting close to a return or that’s pretty much it?
RK: No, that’s it right now. Other than that, you know — it would be very good to have him back. He’s an excellent leader for us and a strong influence on the confidence of the group. I think getting him back will be a good thing for all.
HS: How did you think your team played overall on the three-game trip you just had through Boston and Florida?
RK: Well we can’t accept the results because of how we played. I thought Boston was one of our best games of the season right through from start to finish. The management of the score and just understanding what it takes to create more net pressure is something we’re working hard at. I thought in Florida we actually had our weakest of the three and we got the win, so who’s to say what the best way is to approach a game. In Tampa, I think everybody watched the scoring chances and shot clock of the first few periods, we come out down 3-2 and it was quite disappointing when we look at our game management. Our 4-on-4 situation where we allow a goal against and then a shorthander to actually close the game out is quite frustrating when you see the effort to set up an opportunity to get points in Tampa Bay. So we need to take the pain that we’re feeling right now and the adversity we’re under right now as an opportunity to just continue to build our game in the right way and turn those results. I’m sure we’re going to get a strong effort tonight as a reaction to the frustration of coming only back with two points. But again, there is some confirmation on how we need to play, what we need to do to be successful against the top teams in the league. Carrying those habits forward is going to be really important here today.
Jeremy White: Ralph, one thing that can push you guys through is the power play, which started the season red hot and, you know, I would imagine you expect peaks and valleys, it kid of flows a little bit here and there, it’s just the way it generally works, it’s cyclical. Are you seeing teams doing anything differently than they were at the start of the season that maybe you as a coaching staff and as a team have to make adjustments to?
RK: Yeah, I mean, I think everybody knows that we had a hot power play off the hop and Victor Olofsson on the back side was a bit of a surprise. So that’s being eliminated. We need to be better at finding options. We can’t be happy with our power-play production at all with the skill that we have. It will be a major focal point of the game today again. We are self-critical on it and the guys are digging deep and it’s more, we need to bring in more deception. We need to be less readable on where we’re going to attack and how we’re going to attack. We have had scoring chances again on the power play and not finishing our opportunities is probably our biggest weakness at the moment. But our power play will decide where our game goes. It is our motor offensively and it needs to get going here quickly, that’s clear and evident for all.
JW: It seems that some teams that struggle, struggle to get it in the zone. Sometimes you just don’t have the finish there. I would say for your team, the entries seem to be pretty good. Would you consider it a good sign that at least you’re getting into the zone, so you would expect things to kind uptick the other way at some point.
RK: Yeah, no, we’re definitely getting entry. We’re showing strong control in the O-zone. But creating that net pressure we’d like to have possibly similar to our 5-on-5 game, it’s an opportunity for us and we need to fix that very quickly because we need to show more desperation on our power play in the O-zone. And again, we are working on that for tonight.
HS: I know we pulled you out of a game-day meeting, so we’ll let you get you back to work. Appreciate your time and good luck tonight against Calgary.
RK: Thank you, gentleman, and thanks for the positive support and we will do all to make the Thanksgiving celebrations — to set the celebrations off on the right track and I’ll make sure I find a place to have turkey tomorrow night.
HS: You won’t have trouble finding it. Alright, good luck. Thank you, Ralph.
RK: Thank you, have a good day.