The Buffalo Sabres are at the bottom of the NHL standings with a 6-12-3 record and their terrible season reached its low point on Thursday in a 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. The Sabres were outshot 45-18 in their fifth consecutive loss and the club continues to show little direction and questionable effort under head coach Ralph Krueger, which prompted GM Kevyn Adams to speak to the media on Friday afternoon.
“(It’s) unacceptable, where we’re at right now. Part of my job is to raise the standard, the expectations and the accountability in this organization, and we’re not where we need to be.” Adams said.
Adams replaced Jason Botterill last June, inheriting a club that missed the playoffs nine straight seasons but made significant changes to the roster that appeared to be catered to Krueger, including the signing of former Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall and trading for center Eric Staal.
The club has regressed in its second year under Krueger. With questionable moves such as the benching of winger Jeff Skinner prompting calls for the veteran coach to be fired, but there are questions of whether the first-year GM has the authority to dismiss the coach.
“Ralph and I talk multiple times a day. We’re very honest with each other (and) he understands the situation.” Adams said. (I have) full authority on hockey decisions as the general manager. I’m sure I’ve said this before that decisions aren’t made in a vacuum. I don’t sit in a room by myself and come out and just say ‘this is what we’re doing’. You have people around you, I certainly talk to Terry and Kim (Pegula) about everything, but I have absolutely full authority to make decisions and part of my role is to evaluate every single part of the organization. You’re focused on the coaches, but everything is being evaluated and needs to get better.”
The Sabres could be a very busy club leading up to the April 12th trade deadline, with pending unrestricted free agents in Hall, Staal, Brandon Montour, and other players who may not be part of the club’s future plans, but any potential trade will not include team captain Jack Eichel.
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Eichel expressed frustration at the end of last season about the club’s lack of success and direction and rumors persist that the 24-year-old is looking for a move out of Buffalo, but Adams indicated that is not the case and that the club is not looking to move their #1 center.
“No, (Jack) has not asked for a trade, he is someone that I’ve bounced things off of. He’s talked to me and we have an open dialogue.” Adams said. “Jack is one of the best players in the world, period. Are people gonna make a phone call and ask? Of course. That’s the extent of it. Jack is someone when you see him going and you see the dynamic difference-maker he can be, there’s not many in the league like him.”