Miroslav Satan met with his coaching staff for Team Europe in summer 2016, some two months ahead of the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto.
Even then, the level of detail Ralph Krueger put into his preparation stood out.
"We spent like three days talking about hockey and my brain was just burning from all the details they wanted to discuss," Satan recalled during an interview with The Instigators on Monday. "That was maybe two months before the World Cup, and they wanted to discuss everything in detail.
"It was three full days of just talking about hockey, just getting prepared. I was really amazed by those three days and how much detail goes into his preparation."
The former Sabres forward was general manager for Team Europe, which had a melting pot roster comprised of NHL players from eight different countries. He tasked Krueger - who at that point was already two years into his role as chairman of Southampton Football Club - with bringing those players together.
The decision to appoint Krueger as head coach, Satan said, had a lot to do with his multi-faceted background. Beyond his hockey experience on the international stage, Satan saw Krueger's experience holding leadership seminars for businesses and charitable organizations as an asset. "He's got experience on different levels," Satan said.
"Besides knowing hockey, he knows how players' minds works and how people in general work and how to unite them and make them play for the same cause. That's a big plus, I think, for Ralph. Hopefully he can show that and be the leader in Buffalo for quite some time."
It certainly worked for Team Europe. Former Sabres forward Thomas Vanek was a member of that team, and he told The Instigators last week that Krueger was the best motivator he's dealt with in his career.
Team Europe - as big a question mark as any at the outset of the tournament - went all the way to final, where it lost to Canada. By the end of it, Satan saw NHL offers in Krueger's future.
"We had a team full of good players, good stars and leaders on their teams," he said. "They had to play on one team and kind of split the ice time, split their roles. Ralph is really good at picking up on little details and noticing stuff that not everybody notices.
"He's able to really coach the mind. Not only hockey, coach the mind of the whole group."
Check out the video at the top for the full conversation between Andrew Peters, Craig Rivet and Satan, including a reflection on his time with the Sabres.