Buffalo claimed Drake Caggiula off waivers last season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Drake Caggiula focused on showcasing offensive side

BUFFALO – As Sabres winger Drake Caggiula dropped down the lineup, his confidence in his offensive abilities nearly vanished.

Caggiula, 27, began his NHL career skating on scoring lines and the power play. Having just finished a dynamic college career, he was regarded as an offensive threat.

“I’ve always been an offensive player, all the way up until I got to the NHL,” Caggiula said prior to Tuesday’s 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks at ... Read the full article

Tim Kennedy (middle) began his career with Buffalo. ©2021, Dan Hickling

Sabres hire Tim Kennedy, Nathan Paetsch as development coaches

Having been late-round draft picks, ex-Buffalo Sabres Tim Kennedy and Nathan Paetsch beat long odds to advance and play in the NHL. They possess a unique understanding of a hockey player’s maturation.

Kennedy and Paetsch will now be sharing their knowledge with Sabres prospects. The team on Tuesday hired them as development coaches.

They join Dan Girardi, Seamus Kotyk and Mike Ansell on Adam Mair’s player development staff. Mair was teammates with Kennedy and ... Read the full article

Matt Ellis will move behind the bench permanently. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres change up coaching staff, retain Matt Ellis, add two new faces

Don Granato has overhauled the Buffalo Sabres’ coaching staff, retaining Matt Ellis and hiring Jason Christie and Marty Wilford as assistants, the team announced Thursday.

In addition, Justin White has been named video coordinator. Assistant coach Mike Bales, who’s charge of the goalies, and video coach Myles Fee will remain with the Sabres this season, according to the team. Both were hired by ex-coach Ralph Krueger.

Dan Girardi, an interim assistant coach last season, ... Read the full article

Matt Ellis (pictured) moved behind the bench when Don Granato was promoted. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres coach Don Granato to discuss filling out staff

As the Buffalo Sabres’ interim coach, Don Granato worked with a staff he inherited.

When general manager Kevyn Adams fired coach Ralph Krueger and assistant coach Steve Smith on March 17, he moved Matt Ellis, his director of player development, and Dan Girardi, a development coach, behind the bench.

Ellis replaced Granato, who ran the power play as an assistant under Krueger. Girardi, meanwhile, took over Smith’s role in charge of the defense.... Read the full article

Mattias Samuelsson was recalled Sunday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres prospect Mattias Samuelsson looks impressive in NHL debut

BUFFALO – A month ago, recalling defenseman Mattias Samuelsson and giving one of their top prospects a taste of the NHL wasn’t an option for the Sabres.

They were in the midst of their marathon 18-game winless skid, and the defense corps, like every aspect of the team, was struggling. They couldn’t expose a rookie to that environment.

But the defense has been thriving under interim coach Don Granato and interim assistant Dan Girardi, ... Read the full article

Henri Jokiharju (pictured) enjoys playing beside Rasmus Dahlin. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Henri Jokiharju shaking off poor stretch, playing confidently

BUFFALO – Barely a year after Henri Jokiharju established himself as one of the Sabres’ top defensemen, he started struggling so badly he was demoted to the taxi squad.

Jokiharju, 21, sat out 10 games earlier this season. At times, he looked nothing like the steady defender from 2019-20.

But Jokiharju has settled down under interim Sabres coach Don Granato, showcasing more confidence beside Rasmus Dahlin, his partner over the last eight games.

Jokiharju ... Read the full article

Rasmus Dahlin has an ugly, NHL-worst minus-34 rating. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Rasmus Dahlin starting to settle down, put struggles in past

BUFFALO – In the last week, Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin has finally settled down and started showcasing a sturdier game under interim coach Don Granato.

Dahlin, whose ghastly minus-34 rating ranks last in the NHL, hasn’t suddenly recaptured his old form. Still, he has looked much more comfortable playing for Granato than he did under Ralph Krueger, who was fired March 17.

Simply playing a calmer, more composed style – Dahlin, 20, has ... Read the full article

Don Granato took over the Sabres last week. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Don Granato, Matt Ellis enter COVID-19 protocol; Kevyn Adams to coach Sabres

Interim Buffalo Sabres coach Don Granato and assistant Matt Ellis have entered the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol and will be unavailable for tonight’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team announced late this afternoon. General manager Kevyn Adams will coach the team.

Granato and Ellis are self-isolating, according to the team. Adams said they’re asymptomatic. Entering COVID-19 protocol doesn’t mean the person has tested positive.

The coaches, of course, were in close contact with the players, ... Read the full article

Dan Girardi played 11 seasons for the New York Rangers. ©2021, Dan Hickling

Sabres believe Dan Girardi’s playing experience will help defense corps

BUFFALO – Dan Girardi retired less than two years ago, so the ex-NHL defenseman was a contemporary to many of the Sabres.

If they knew Girardi as a player – despite going undrafted, he enjoyed a stellar 13-year career – they can likely relate to him as an assistant coach.

When the hapless Sabres fired coach Ralph Krueger on Wednesday, they also let go assistant coach Steve Smith. General manager Kevyn Adams wanted a fresh ... Read the full article

Don Granato coached his first game Thursday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Don Granato faces challenges before first game as interim Sabres coach

BUFFALO – Instead of having a day or two of practice and preparation prior to his first game as interim Sabres coach, Don Granato had one meeting just two hours before the opening faceoff.

On Thursday, a day after the Sabres fired coach Ralph Krueger and named Granato, 53, his interim replacement, a member of their hockey staff entered the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. The Sabres, who had Wednesday off, canceled their morning skate and stayed ... Read the full article