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Sharpen Up: Week of May 20, 2019

What you need to know going into the week

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

It's been a busy week in Sabreland.  

Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart are both coming off goal-scoring performances at the IIHF World Championship, while Brandon Montour saw his tournament end prematurely due to an MCL sprain. 

Eichel and Reinhart are both set to meet this week with Ralph Krueger, who was hired last Wednesday to be the 19th head coach of the Sabres. Krueger will spend the week in Slovakia with general manager Jason Botterill, who is part of Team Canada's management team. 

Here's what you need to know in the meantime. 

Meet Ralph Krueger

If you spent time watching the NHL playoffs at pubs near Elmwood or Allentown in late April, there's a chance you unknowingly spoke with the future head coach of the Sabres. 

Krueger went incognito to check the pulse of Sabres fans during his visit to Buffalo last month, living up to his reputation as hockey's "most interesting man." He watched two games, switching bars each period and discussing the state of the team with fans along the way. 

Here's what he had to say about that visit: 

"We matter in Buffalo, and that matters to me as a head coach. I want that pressure; I want that responsibility if I'm going to work in an environment. We're an important part of what Buffalo is all about. When I went for my walk, I was able to tap in.

"… It was quite interesting. I'd sit beside Sabres fans and have conversations and have conversations that I won't be able to have with them now. It was very enlightening. I felt the spirit of the city."

Krueger referenced that visit as a reason he felt strongly about taking the Sabres job, along with a belief in Botterill's organizational philosophy. Read more about the conversations that brought him to Buffalo here

If you missed it, here's Botterill's press conference with the media:

Video: Jason Botterill Press Conference (5/15/19)

And here's Krueger's conversation with The Instigators, his first interview after being named coach:

Video: Ralph Krueger on The Instigators

We have more on Krueger's path to Buffalo - which includes a long list of international accomplishments, time spent as chairman of an English Premier League team and work with the World Economic Forum - here. You can also click here for Brian Duff's take on the hiring.

Want more? Check out Jack Eichel's interview with after the hiring here, or take a look at the national media reactions


Checking in at Worlds

Montour sustained his injury during Canada's win over Slovakia last Monday, bringing his tournament to an end. His estimated recovery time is six weeks. 

Eichel (United States) and Reinhart (Canada) have both clinched spots in the quarterfinal round, meanwhile, with a head-to-head matchup set for their preliminary-round finale at 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday. 

Eichel has goals in his last two games, both coming on shots from the left circle. He's tied for second on Team USA with eight points (2+6) in six games. 

Tweet from @antonj85: Jack Eichel 3-1 m��l f��r USA mot Tyskland. #IIHFWorlds

Reinhart scored his first goal (and third point) of the tournament in Canada's last game, an 8-1 win over Germany on Saturday. The Canadians are back in action at 2:15 this afternoon against Denmark.

Follow along for the remainder of the tournament here


50th anniversary logo unveiled

The Sabres revealed a pair of commemorative logos to celebrate the organization's 50th anniversary in 2019-20. 

Owners Terry and Kim Pegula tasked executive vice president of creative services Frank Cravotta and his design team to develop a logo and a patch for the occasion. 

"We did a lot of research," Cravotta said. "Simplicity for Kim and Terry is key. You see some of these [logos other teams have created] that have very complex designs. They wanted it kind of stripped down, clean, and simple."

Read more here, and stay tuned for more announcement regarding the 50th anniversary season.


On the farm

Duffer checked in with Rochester Americans general manager Randy Sexton last week to discuss the future of the team coming off a first-round playoff exit against Toronto earlier this month. 

The Amerks finished the regular season with 99 points, an eight-point improvement from the season prior. Having said that, expect to see some turnover in the next few months.

"It's certainly a bigger challenge this coming summer than it was last summer," Sexton said. "And that's because we now have some young players kicking the door to try and earn a full-time spot in Buffalo."

Read the full Q&A here.


Home Alone

Remember this one?

Video: One Buffalo Holidays: Casey Mittelstadt in Home Alone

It's up for Top Team Video in the NHL Fan Choice Awards. Vote here

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