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The Krueger Effect

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52 minutes ago, ... said:

Positioning Krueger's administration as open and communicative certainly creates a contrasting image of coaches who usually aren't that way.  I find that amazing because you can't "lead" effectively without it.

From the article:

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The players marvel at the open lines of communication between themselves and the coaches and how constructive those conversations have been.

I can only conclude that by contrast, XHCPH was a terrible communicator (which was my impression of him when he was still the coach).

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3 minutes ago, Doohickie said:

I'm still skeptical.  I read that he had Edmonton playing good hockey too, then it fell off after a while.  I like to think RFK learned from that but I also won't believe it until I see it.  That said, it does feel like a fundamental shift has occurred.

 

Bills won 1 AFL championship, but at that time it was clearly seen as "the junior circuit."  The "real" championship was the NFL championship. 

Bandits are simply not a major sports league.  Player payroll is 1/20 of NHL player payroll, and the NHL is the lowest of the "major" sports leagues, money-wise.

The Bills were Champs in '64 & '65 and hosted the '66 championship that KC won.  That should've been Buffalo that Green Bay crushed in January '67.

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4 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

2 AFL championships.  1964 and 1965.

No, you're right.

I read the chart in Wiki wrong.  😞

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6 minutes ago, Doohickie said:

No, you're right.

I read the chart in Wiki wrong.  😞

Regardless, they still haven't won it all in my life time.  

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1 hour ago, PASabreFan said:

I can only assume Dom doesn't think much of the underlying metrics of the Sabres' start.

His pre-season projection is based on previous player production and admittedly doesn’t account much for young player growth, coaching, and (presumably) chemistry.

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2 hours ago, Zamboni said:

Could have been better with more “meat” ...

I can't even...

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2 hours ago, nfreeman said:

I thought it was a pretty good article.

As a related point, I've noticed that RK is pretty impassive on the bench -- very little reaction to goals for or against, wins, etc.  I think it's of a piece with his "stay calm" mantra that he clearly believes in for both players and coaches.

This always gets me.  

When the team is successful under Krueger, his impassive, non-reactive bench demeanor is a reflection of his stay calm mantra.

When the team is unsuccessful under Housley, his impassive, non-reactive bench demeanor is a reflection of his inability to inspire the team and a sign of poor leadership.

Not saying you specially ever said that about Housley, freeman, but I saw it many times from several people.  I just find it funny.

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Moments after Jack Eichel scored in overtime to give Buffalo a 4-3 win over San Jose on Tuesday night, the Sabres walked back into their dressing room as the No. 1 team in the NHL. Their 17 points is one up on Washington, two on Colorado and Edmonton.

So, how crazy was it in there?

“Actually, it was pretty casual,” answered winning goaltender Carter Hutton. “We learned our lesson last year, after our 10-game winning streak. We got too comfortable playing with fire. (Head coach Ralph Krueger) has us focussed on the process, sticking with what we do right. If we give up good chances, we’re going to pay.”

Down 2-0 after one to the Sharks, the group emphasized staying true to the plan.

“We have a lot of trust in the system,” Sam Reinhart told reporters post-game.

“Maybe the younger Jack gets frustrated,” Hutton said. “Now, we always talk about the grind of it, how you have to stick with things instead of getting down. But guys feed off him. If he stays right, we follow.”

Four Eichel points later, the Sabres won. This hasn’t been the only example in 2019-20. Two nights after his giveaway led to the winner in an overtime loss to Columbus, the captain had another four-point game in a win over Montreal. They blew a 2-0 lead in Anaheim to start their West Coast swing, but recovered to shutout Los Angeles and beat the Sharks in an absolute roller-coaster ride in San Jose.

On a 31 Thoughts podcast, Eichel said Krueger won him over during their first dinner together — at last year’s World Championships. Hutton said a similar thing happened when the coach invited him for dinner with teammates Zach Bogosian and Kyle Okposo. Hockey only came up at the end, after Krueger made sure to know about them and their families.

He’s made other changes. Hutton says he doesn’t think the Sabres have used their video room once. Meetings are in the dressing room, “short and sweet.” Smaller groups, not necessarily everyone.

“We’ve got a lot of younger players, and it is not as easy for a 19-year-old to speak up in front of everyone. They think they are stepping on toes.” This makes it more comfortable for them, as does the arrival of 600-game veteran Marcus Johansson — especially for the Sabres’ Swedes. “He is their voice breaking that ice. (Rasmus Ristolainen) is not as outgoing, he just likes to focus on playing. Plus, he’s a Finn. Marcus has become the leader of that group. He’s been huge for us.”

When I ran into Hutton last season, he said he learned things about being a No. 1 goalie that he hoped to put into place for this year. San Jose’s first goal ended a career-long personal shutout string that reached 134 minutes. He didn’t change the way he prepared in the summer, but did alter his mental approach.

“You have to manage the highs and lows. It is very hard to be so emotionally attached to 50 games a year. You’re going to burn out, it’s hard to play with that fire. You have to stay even-keeled. I’m also managing my output in practice.”

What about games? What has changed in front of you?

“Predictability,” he replies, and refers to a 4-0 shutout of Dallas last Monday. “I only had to make two or three solid saves. We’re doing a good job of allowing the chances we want to give.”

You can’t win the Stanley Cup in October. But you sure can lose it then. It’s early, but the Sabres seem better prepared to handle it. They have to be.

“We’re not fooling anyone anymore,” Hutton says. “We’re getting everyone’s best.”

https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/31-thoughts-pressure-mounting-toronto-maple-leafs/

Edited by WildCard
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6 minutes ago, Curt said:

This always gets me.  

When the team is successful under Krueger, his impassive, non-reactive bench demeanor is a reflection of his stay calm mantra.

When the team is unsuccessful under Housley, his impassive, non-reactive bench demeanor is a reflection of his inability to inspire the team and a sign of poor leadership.

Not saying you specially ever said that about Housley, freeman, but I saw it many times from several people.  I just find it funny.

I think the main difference is, Housley has a highly punchable face. RK, just has a gargantuan nose. 🤔

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19 minutes ago, Curt said:

This always gets me.  

When the team is successful under Krueger, his impassive, non-reactive bench demeanor is a reflection of his stay calm mantra.

When the team is unsuccessful under Housley, his impassive, non-reactive bench demeanor is a reflection of his inability to inspire the team and a sign of poor leadership.

Not saying you specially ever said that about Housley, freeman, but I saw it many times from several people.  I just find it funny.

Well, I seem to recall Howie getting pretty animated and celebrating GWGs. 

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I’m astonished at what he’s done so far.  The 10 games wasn’t sustainable in what PH had them doing.  This is different.  Could the main problem have been coaching?  

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I think Ralph made a very perceptive set of choices when handing out the “A”s.

Hutton speaks to what Johansson is doing, and I look at the package of MoJo and McCabe.

  • Johansson: smooth, calm, in his 10th year, European, forward, 1st rounder, well-travelled new Sabre, lot of playoff success, not a star
  • McCabe: gritty, fiery, just 4 full seasons under his belt, North American, not a first-rounder, long-time Sabre, no playoff success, not a star

Between the two of them, is there a base that isn’t covered? As a pair, they represent pretty much every constituency there is in that dressing room. With Jack, of course, as the star.

They also are a pair who seem to have leadership abilities, yet maybe wouldn’t have been comfortable stepping forward into that role to start this year, without Ralph thrusting it upon them.

Very unsung culture move, IMO.

Edited by dudacek
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1 hour ago, WildCard said:

 

It's pretty telling that a lot of the players who seemed to struggle with the structured crazy advanced system Housley pushed on them all look like brand new players in the simplistic, yet more effective ordeal they're employing this year.  Get these guys out of the video room-- that's for the coaches, maybe one or two players (PP QBs, etc.), not the entire team.

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4 hours ago, Doohickie said:

10 games is also an infamous number of games, and not to be trusted, by those who followed the team last year.

The difference is that last year we had a mere semblance of a coach.  I didn't hear any of his players raving about him.  This year, appears to be 180 degrees difference.

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29 minutes ago, Formerly Allan in MD said:

The difference is that last year we had a mere semblance of a coach.  I didn't hear any of his players raving about him.  This year, appears to be 180 degrees difference.

I hope you're right, but I reserve judgment until I see how Krueger handles the team during adversity.

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2 hours ago, Doohickie said:

I hope you're right, but I reserve judgment until I see how Krueger handles the team during adversity.

Yup.  Captains are not made on calm seas.

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18 hours ago, Curt said:

This always gets me.  

When the team is successful under Krueger, his impassive, non-reactive bench demeanor is a reflection of his stay calm mantra.

When the team is unsuccessful under Housley, his impassive, non-reactive bench demeanor is a reflection of his inability to inspire the team and a sign of poor leadership.

Not saying you specially ever said that about Housley, freeman, but I saw it many times from several people.  I just find it funny.

 

The difference is Housley led and nobody followed. Because they didn't believe in what he was saying and they knew that he wasn't telling them the right things that would ultimately lead them to success.  Their D zone was chaos, and Housley had few if any answers once the ship started sinking.  When you realize your leader doesn't know how to fix the problem and has no answers, it becomes every man for themselves because they are going to play the way they feel best about because it's the only way they feel they can win.  And rarely will that ever work with a team of 20+ players where all of them play their own style and it comes together and works out. 

They believe in Krueger as a person, as a leader and they will follow him off a cliff if that is where he ends up taking them. He makes every player feel like they are an important part of the team's success whether you are playing 5 minutes a night or 25 minutes a night.  Every player knows and understands their role in the grand scheme of things and every role is important. Krueger has asked players to accept their roles for the good of the team and they have.  Kyle Okposo has gone from a 20-30 goal scorer to a key disruptor role that grinds opponents down in their own end and sets the table for other lines because the opponents get tired out of battling in their own zone all night when they are out there. And he accepts his role and he relishes it. There are no line numbers and some nights one line or player(s) may play more than another based on what is needed that night. 

If you don't understand the difference in that then you just don't understand. It has less to do with the actual players and much more to do with leadership from their coach, players buying into the belief that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and the way they are allowed to play.

I predicted before the season that Krueger would have an effect that was far more positive than most people thought because I have seen first hand on numerous occasions at different jobs the difference a good leader versus a bad leader can make in terms of results with the same people. Leadership matters. A lot. In many different ways that are not tangible. At the end of the day, you are working with other people and having tremendous interpersonal skills matters a LOT. Often times I was considered the "good leader" that followed a "bad leader" in terms of employee morale and results.  Nobody wants to work in a place where they get crappy results and the leader has no idea how to fix it.  After a while they simply tune that person out because well, "Why bother, it's not going to work anyway, he doesn't know what the hell he is doing. I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and get through the day the best I can so I can get the hell out of this cesspool." That becomes a highly charged and negative environment and people just shut down almost as a protection mechanism.

A key point in all of this is that you will never get the results you want when employee morale is poor, because they simply are going to be going through the motions while working and have simply stopped caring on many levels.  Once you raise employee morale high enough and can keep it there long enough for them to start seeing real results, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of them believing in you, you believing in them and everyone wanting to work together as a team to ensure that it keeps going in the right direction.  That's when you can get people to accept their roles they play that might not be the roles they want but will sacrifice for the good of the team. I was viewed by many companies as a "fixer".  Several times in different industries I went into places that had terrible employee morale and terrible results where the people didn't care and with the same people in a period of 6 months to a year, the employee morale and results started to drastically change for the better and by the second year employees who were viewed as problems the company wanted to get rid of became viewed as key employees and role models that the district manager would praise in their other stores. The results typically followed and ended up at the top of or near the top of the district and sometimes even the region or nationally.  This is why I am a huge proponent of leadership. Because it DOES make a difference in EVERYTHING. When you've lived it many times in person you can see it. When you are an employee that has gone from hating their job under one manager and going through the motions to loving it under a new manager and being 100% on board with everything you see it. More than that you feel it, and that is what is going on with the team...they see it, they feel it and they believe in it and they are going to follow Krueger wherever he decides to take them almost implicitly and without any reservations because they trust him.

Edited by matter2003
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18 hours ago, Curt said:

This always gets me.  

When the team is successful under Krueger, his impassive, non-reactive bench demeanor is a reflection of his stay calm mantra.

When the team is unsuccessful under Housley, his impassive, non-reactive bench demeanor is a reflection of his inability to inspire the team and a sign of poor leadership.

Not saying you specially ever said that about Housley, freeman, but I saw it many times from several people.  I just find it funny.

Housley seemed impassive and boring, Krueger seems thoughtful and enthusiastic. It isn't the same demeanor. 

 

Edited by LGR4GM
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I really enjoy listening to his interviews.  You can tell he's a very intelligent and well spoken person.  I'm not sure if empathy is the right word, but he clearly is thinking about everyone on the team and coaching staff when he responds.  It's clear he knows how to motivate (and perhaps empower) everyone within the organization.  He is very positive and unbeat yet remains humble with the early season success.  You can hear this in the players responses as well.  Maybe what I am trying to say is that he sees the big picture and he is executing flawlessly the strategy so far.  Let's hope he can keep it up.

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22 hours ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

Regardless, they still haven't won it all in my life time.  

I guess moving the goalposts is appropriate when talking football. -)

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3 hours ago, matter2003 said:

 

The difference is Housley led and nobody followed. Because they didn't believe in what he was saying and they knew that he wasn't telling them the right things that would ultimately lead them to success.  Their D zone was chaos, and Housley had few if any answers once the ship started sinking.  When you realize your leader doesn't know how to fix the problem and has no answers, it becomes every man for themselves because they are going to play the way they feel best about because it's the only way they feel they can win.  And rarely will that ever work with a team of 20+ players where all of them play their own style and it comes together and works out. 

They believe in Krueger as a person, as a leader and they will follow him off a cliff if that is where he ends up taking them. He makes every player feel like they are an important part of the team's success whether you are playing 5 minutes a night or 25 minutes a night.  Every player knows and understands their role in the grand scheme of things and every role is important. Krueger has asked players to accept their roles for the good of the team and they have.  Kyle Okposo has gone from a 20-30 goal scorer to a key disruptor role that grinds opponents down in their own end and sets the table for other lines because the opponents get tired out of battling in their own zone all night when they are out there. And he accepts his role and he relishes it. There are no line numbers and some nights one line or player(s) may play more than another based on what is needed that night. 

If you don't understand the difference in that then you just don't understand. It has less to do with the actual players and much more to do with leadership from their coach, players buying into the belief that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and the way they are allowed to play.

I predicted before the season that Krueger would have an effect that was far more positive than most people thought because I have seen first hand on numerous occasions at different jobs the difference a good leader versus a bad leader can make in terms of results with the same people. Leadership matters. A lot. In many different ways that are not tangible. At the end of the day, you are working with other people and having tremendous interpersonal skills matters a LOT. Often times I was considered the "good leader" that followed a "bad leader" in terms of employee morale and results.  Nobody wants to work in a place where they get crappy results and the leader has no idea how to fix it.  After a while they simply tune that person out because well, "Why bother, it's not going to work anyway, he doesn't know what the hell he is doing. I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and get through the day the best I can so I can get the hell out of this cesspool." That becomes a highly charged and negative environment and people just shut down almost as a protection mechanism.

A key point in all of this is that you will never get the results you want when employee morale is poor, because they simply are going to be going through the motions while working and have simply stopped caring on many levels.  Once you raise employee morale high enough and can keep it there long enough for them to start seeing real results, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of them believing in you, you believing in them and everyone wanting to work together as a team to ensure that it keeps going in the right direction.  That's when you can get people to accept their roles they play that might not be the roles they want but will sacrifice for the good of the team. I was viewed by many companies as a "fixer".  Several times in different industries I went into places that had terrible employee morale and terrible results where the people didn't care and with the same people in a period of 6 months to a year, the employee morale and results started to drastically change for the better and by the second year employees who were viewed as problems the company wanted to get rid of became viewed as key employees and role models that the district manager would praise in their other stores. The results typically followed and ended up at the top of or near the top of the district and sometimes even the region or nationally.  This is why I am a huge proponent of leadership. Because it DOES make a difference in EVERYTHING. When you've lived it many times in person you can see it. When you are an employee that has gone from hating their job under one manager and going through the motions to loving it under a new manager and being 100% on board with everything you see it. More than that you feel it, and that is what is going on with the team...they see it, they feel it and they believe in it and they are going to follow Krueger wherever he decides to take them almost implicitly and without any reservations because they trust him.

I agree with you. I too was the Ray Donovan of managers who was put in to many situations that needed to be corrected. My motto was you can't push a rope, you must pull it.

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    What I can appreciate from RK, and it was never directly discussed in the article, was the decision behind breaking up the Skinner-Eichel-Reinhart line.   There is a quote from Skinner and how he is working well with MoJo, but the question is never asked WHY was the decision made.  I think it's significant.    I think Reinhart has the offensive skill set to drive a line (whether from the RW or C position).   But Sam is in a contract year, and its vital that he proves himself for this contract.   Having Jack center him is a way of RK saying I'm going to give you every opportunity for you to succeed and get a long term deal.  While at the same time saying to JB, let's see him validate his worthiness to the upcoming contract offer.    The same (to a lesser extent) can be said of Olafsson.   He's also an  RFA, and while his term and AAV will not be near what Sam's will be, the stats he can obtain to increase the overall value are attainable with Jack more so than anyone else on this team.   And the message to Skinner thus far has been, you earned the right to your extension, now deliver under more difficult conditions.  

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