Kevyn's Cryptic Press Conference
On Friday, March 5th, 2021, Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams held a press conference addressing the state of the team. The reaction to what he had to say varies greatly depending on who you speak with. Some will tell you that it sounded like Adams did not support coach Krueger's style but others would say that Adams really said nothing at all.
To me, it sounded like he doesn't have a plan. He talked about how he's learned a lot from coach Krueger and that there's good people in the room. He also talked about how team play has not been acceptable. He mentioned the compete level has to improve and the lack of grit that the Sabres show.
If you've been watching coach Ralph Krueger's post-game press conferences, then you know that's exactly what Ralph has been saying for weeks now. Adams talked about how his communication with Krueger is honest and open and daily, sometimes several times per day. So when I heard him repeat the same things that the coach says at the postgame pressers, I couldn't help but wonder who is echoing who, or have they both agreed that this is the message. The company line.
I'm glad that they at least agree on what the problem is. However, it was very disappointing to hear Kevin Adams say the following regarding what to do about it, “What's going on is unacceptable and, you know, I'm sure we'll have multiple conversations on this, philosophy, and how we get there, but let's just start with we need to be better. I've been empowered by Terry and Kim Pegula to fix this and that's what I'm going to do.” He also said, “We’ll assess everything. It’ll lead to a bigger plan on how we march forward.”
Great, but you’re a little late to the party, Kevyn. The team has been in a downward spiral for a while now. As of right now, you should be well beyond a starting point. You should have assessed everything by now. What more do you need to see? You should already be doing what you’re going to do and not still trying to figure something out.
From top to bottom of this press conference, all I really heard is a bunch of lip service, just like when Ralph speaks. Adams said he’s angry. Ok, but so what? He’s GM of the worst hockey team in the NHL. He better be angry. It’s assumed. Would be shocking if he weren't angry. For me, watching him say that felt like he was using it as a shield to deflect away from a more substantial flow of information, and it worked. The press ran with it. “Kevyn Adams Is Angry” is how almost every reporter began their post press conference article or tweet. This is not news! The majority of the press heard Adams intimate that Krueger is on the hot seat and will probably be out of a job within the next week or two. I’m all for that but I surely heard nothing of the kind from Adams yesterday. However, I could be misinterpreting what he said. Every single one of his responses was cryptic and calculated leaving it up to everyone else to interpret. The only area where I heard him separate himself from Ralph was regarding the fact that covid and and injuries are no excuse for the terrible product on the ice. However, by agreeing with the coach about the whole team’s hustle and grit made it sound like he was blaming all the players, just like Ralph does. Some folks will incorrectly tell you that the players should already be motivated and the coach shouldn’t need to do much of that. My response is that Vince Lombardi would entirely disagree with that argument.
When asked about Ralph’s system and how it isn’t working with this set of players, Adams responded by saying there’s been many systems that have been successful ranging from very defensive to very offensive and everything in between. He continued to say that for a system to work there has to be 100% buy in from all the players. So again, he is putting the blame on all the players So that’s it then. They’re going to continue to discuss the situation and, hopefully, through those discussions a solution will materialize. Good luck with that fellas. Perhaps if there were someone with extensive NHL experience in a key role in Buffalo, the Sabres would already know what to do and a plan would have been put in place weeks ago.
When asked to describe his team’s culture, Adams said, “Culture is a moving target.” Oh no, here comes another dodge. Adams went on to describe different cultures on teams he’s been on but never really described Buffalo’s culture. Dodge.
What about Jack? Adams wouldn’t address any potential nagging injuries with his captain. Everything else Adams had to say about Jack’s performance this year was jargon. For me, as far as Jack goes, he isn’t being a captain. If he were, he probably would have called a players only meeting by now. If he did that though, he’d have to hold himself accountable for giving 100% day in and day out, and I’m not sure he wants to give that much anymore.
Sabres play the Islanders in a couple hours and then again tomorrow at noon. If they get outplayed in both games, I don’t think Adams will have any choice but to fire the coach. It is my hope that he is already in discussions with a replacement for Krueger. The one thing Adams did say that I agree with is that the fans should be mad. I hope the fans who get upset at other fans for being upset heard that. Even the GM is saying that we should be mad. Good. I'm glad he justified my anger. Now I can bill the team for the stroke they're going to give me.