Don Granato has an extensive coaching resume. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres hire Don Granato, Mike Bales as assistant coaches

BUFFALO – The Sabres have hired Don Granato and Mike Bales as assistant coaches on new head coach Ralph Krueger’s staff, the team announced this morning.

The Sabres also officially announced Krueger will retain assistant Steve Smith, a former NHL defenseman he had on his staff with the Edmonton Oilers.

Granato, 51, has coached at all levels – junior, college, pro and NHL – over his 26-year career. He spent the last two seasons ... Read the full article

Mike Bales won two Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh. ©2019, Hickling Images

Reports: Sabres to hire Mike Bales as goalie coach, retain Steve Smith

The Buffalo Sabres will hire Mike Bales as their new goalie coach and retain assistant coach Steve Smith, according to multiple reports.

Bales, 47, resigned as goalie coach of the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday. The Buffalo News, The Athletic and Sportsnet all reported Bales is bound for Buffalo.

Former Sabres coach Phil Housley hired Smith, a three-time Stanley Cup winner as a player, to run his defense last year. Ralph Krueger, Housley’s replacement, ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner will be 34 when his contract ends. ©2019, Hickling Images

Rewards of Jeff Skinner’s long-term contract outweigh risks for Sabres

Jason Botterill sensed he would be asked a question about 40-goal scorer Jeff Skinner’s new long-term contract, so the Buffalo Sabres general manager decided to answer it himself.

“Probably one of the next questions is going to be about giving an eight-year contract to a 27-year-old,” Botterill said of Skinner’s $72 million deal on a conference call Saturday, a day after awarding the hefty contract. “But there’s always going to be risk sometimes in doing ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner is the second-highest paid Sabre. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres re-sign Jeff Skinner to eight-year, $72 million contract

In the end, the Buffalo Sabres needed to re-sign slick winger Jeff Skinner, even if it meant overpaying the 40-goal scorer.

As a 27-year-old fresh off a career season and just weeks away from becoming an unrestricted free agent, the two-time NHL All-Star possessed most of the leverage.

So late Friday, the Sabres awarded Skinner an eight-year, $72 million contract.... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner just finished a career-best season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Report: Sabres close to re-signing Jeff Skinner to huge long-term contract

The Buffalo Sabres are close to re-signing 40-goal scorer Jeff Skinner to an eight-year contact with an average annual value of around $9 million, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

Update: The Sabres announced tonight Skinner has signed an eight-year, $72 million contract.

As a 27-year-old fresh off a career season and just weeks away from becoming an unrestricted free agent, the talented winger possesses plenty of leverage.

The Sabres, one of the NHL’s laughingstocks, desperately ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner scored 40 goals in his first season in Buffalo. ©2019, Hickling Images

Ralph Krueger believes Jeff Skinner wants to stay with Sabres

BUFFALO – Shortly after being named coach last month, Ralph Krueger called winger Jeff Skinner, the 40-goal scorer the Sabres are trying to re-sign to a long-term contract.

Krueger said after a long and productive conversation – “I could feel his unbelievable passion for the game,” he said – he hung up the phone believing Skinner, 27, wants to return to the Sabres.

“His tone in his voice when it came to the past ... Read the full article

Chris Taylor has coached Rochester two seasons. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Coach Chris Taylor will likely stay put with Amerks

BUFFALO – When the Sabres began their coaching search last month, general manager Jason Botterill and his assistants, Steve Greeley and Randy Sexton, talked a lot about pursuing experienced NHL candidates.

“But we also wanted to make sure we opened it up,” Botterill said Wednesday inside KeyBank Center after the Sabres announced Ralph Krueger as their new coach. “Through this process it wasn’t always out in the media, but we looked at a lot of ... Read the full article

Ralph Krueger coached the Edmonton Oilers one season. ©2019, Hickling Images

World Cup coaching gig helped lead Ralph Krueger to Sabres

BUFFALO – Three years ago, in the midst of his tenure as chairman of Southampton F.C., an English Premier League team, new Sabres coach Ralph Krueger briefly returned to his roots.

Krueger, who hadn’t been behind a bench since the Edmonton Oilers fired him in 2013, took a job coaching Team Europe’s entry at the World Cup of Hockey.

While Krueger wanted to remain in his role in Southampton the short hockey gig reignited his ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner scored a career-high 40 goals in 2018-19. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: GM Jason Botterill knows Jeff Skinner interested to see coach

BUFFALO – Sabres general manager Jason Botterill understands 40-goal winger Jeff Skinner needed to know something important before making a huge decision.

“If you’re going to sign a long-term contract with an organization, you kind of want to know who the head coach is,” Botterill said Wednesday after announcing Ralph Krueger as the 19th head coach in franchise history.

Skinner, who turns 27 on Thursday, can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. Until ... Read the full article

Ralph Krueger was an unknown candidate last month. ©2019, Hickling Images

Visiting bars helped Sabres coach Ralph Krueger get feel for Buffalo

BUFFALO – When new Sabres coach Ralph Krueger visited here with his wife, Glenda, last month, he decided to tap into the city.

So Krueger, then an unknown candidate, said he went bar hopping to watch some NHL playoff games, never staying at one location more than one period.

“He actually spent a weekend here, went to a lot of different establishments, I guess a little bit undercover,” Sabres general manager Jason Botterill said this ... Read the full article