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

Henri Jokiharju has had two stints on the taxi squad this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres recall Henri Jokiharju from taxi squad, make other moves

The Buffalo Sabres recalled defenseman Henri Jokiharju, who had sat out five out the last six games, from the taxi squad prior to Tuesday’s 3-2 road loss to the New Jersey Devils.

The Sabres also summoned defenseman Brandon Davidson from the taxi squad and sent rookie defenseman Jacob Bryson and center Rasmus Asplund back to the practice group.

Jokiharju, 21, established himself as one of the Sabres’ steadiest defensemen last season while playing all ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen has handled a heavy workload after recovering from COVID-19. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres have no plans to rest Rasmus Ristolainen: ‘He’s such a competitor’

BUFFALO – Rasmus Ristolainen’s harrowing battle with COVID-19 left him so weak he struggled to walk up the stairs in his home. The Sabres defenseman did not play for 27 days and missed seven games.

But since Ristolainen returned to the lineup Feb. 27, he has played all 10 contests, averaging 21 minutes, 28 seconds of ice time in the first nine entering Monday’s 6-0 loss to the Washington Capitals at KeyBank Center.

Have the ... Read the full article

Cody Eakin has scored just one goal this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres to make lineup changes, scratch Cody Eakin

BUFFALO – Sabres center Cody Eakin, who has scored just one goal in 26 games this season, an empty-netter, will be a healthy scratch tonight against the Washington Capitals.

Rasmus Asplund, who hasn’t played since Feb. 25, will replace Eakin between Tobias Rieder and Kyle Okposo.

Eakin’s penalty-killing prowess has helped the Sabres improve from 30th last season to fifth this year. His 57.5 faceoff percentage ranks first among Sabres who have taken at ... Read the full article

Dylan Cozen’s left Thursday’s game. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres rookie Dylan Cozens undergoing further evaluations, day to day

BUFFALO – Sabres center Dylan Cozens, who left Thursday’s 5-2 loss after getting hit into the boards, did not practice Friday and is day to day with an upper-body injury, coach Ralph Krueger said.

“We’re still doing further evaluations today,” Krueger said on a Zoom call.

Cozens’ head bit the boards hard and he got up slowly after Pittsburgh Penguins center Zach Aston-Reese hit him 2:27 into the third period. The rookie left the game ... Read the full article

The Sabres assigned defenseman Henri Jokiharju to the taxi squad on Sunday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

‘Sophomore’ slump hurting Sabres’ Henri Jokiharju

Last season, his first in Buffalo, defenseman Henri Jokiharju morphed into the Sabres’ biggest surprise, showcasing a steady style that earned him coach Ralph Krueger’s trust.

So naturally, Jokiharju, 21, wants to advance his game this year and develop his offensive side.

“It’s part of the development for a young defenseman to come in and be very conservative and then try to build a more attacking, offensive game on top of that,” Krueger said on ... Read the full article

Ralph Krueger’s team has fallen to the bottom of the NHL. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres implode against Islanders, lose sixth straight: ‘Just mental toughness’

The Sabres’ sixth consecutive loss started well enough. Rookie defenseman Jacob Bryson scored his first NHL goal 33 seconds into the game, giving Buffalo a rare lead it would hold the remainder of the period.

But given the Sabres’ recent futility and fragileness, it felt like they would implode following any misstep against the New York Islanders. Sure enough, after Mathew Barzal’s between-the-legs goal tied the game 3:51 into the second period, they fell apart.... Read the full article

Taylor Hall has scored just one goal this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Despite slow start, Sabres’ Taylor Hall open to contract extension with Buffalo

When Taylor Hall shocked the hockey world by signing a one-year, $8 million contract with the Sabres, he said he was open to staying in Buffalo on a long-term deal.

Twenty-one games into the season, Hall and the Sabres have struggled mightily.

Hall scored his first goal since opening night in Thursday’s 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders. It was his first even-strength goal this season and just his 13th point. The Sabres, having ... Read the full article

Jonas Johansson made 35 saves Sunday afternoon. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres have intriguing goalie option; Jonas Johansson receives first start

BUFFALO – If the Sabres want to add an established goalie they can utilize as Linus Ullmark recovers from his lower-body injury, Alex Stalock is available.

The Minnesota Wild waived Stalock, who has been recovering from an upper-body injury all season, on Sunday.

Stalock, 33, has played 151 NHL games, including a career-high 38 last season. The veteran could be an intriguing option for the Sabres.

Ullmark will be sidelined at least one month, coach ... Read the full article

Dylan Cozens said he tested positive for COVID-19. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Three more Sabres back from COVID-19; Rasmus Ristolainen still out

Sabres rookie Dylan Cozens started doing the math in his head. After testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, he was forced to quarantine for the third time in less than three months.

“I was just adding up the days,” Cozens said on a Zoom call this afternoon from Washington. “Since Nov. 25, I’ve quarantined for 35 days or something, just in a hotel room. So it’s been a lot, for sure.”

Cozens, 20, also ... Read the full article