Don Granato has coached in college, junior and pro hockey. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

If Sabres pass on Don Granato, hiring an ex-NHL head coach could be wise move

Right now, Don Granato must wait as Kevyn Adams conducts what could be an exhaustive search for the Buffalo Sabres’ next head coach.

The general manager reiterated last week he plans to talk to a lot of people, so it might take several weeks before he makes the most critical decision of his short tenure.

If Adams gets it wrong, it will likely set the franchise back years.

Granato’s work transforming the Sabres as interim ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel said he feels a disconnect with the Sabres. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Strong message: Sabres’ Kevyn Adams wants ‘people that want to be here’

Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said it five times during his 43-minute virtual news conference, first when he was talking about disgruntled captain Jack Eichel and later when center Sam Reinhart and defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen’s frustrations came up.

Adams stated it a few different ways, but the last four words and the strong message remained the same.

“We are going to get this right with the people that want to be here,” Adams said ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt could be Buffalo’s top center next season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ top young players excited for future: ‘Got a real good group here’

The contrast was stark. A day after Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen all essentially said they’d welcome a change of scenery after enduring years of losing and turmoil, several of the Sabres’ top young players spoke optimistically about their futures in Buffalo.

“Nothing but excitement,” winger Tage Thompson, 23, said on a Zoom call Tuesday as the Sabres held end-of-season meetings inside KeyBank Center after finishing dead last. “Obviously, we have ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark was Buffalo’s best player this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres GM Kevyn Adams has offseason filled with critical decisions

Kevyn Adams experienced a brutal rookie season as Buffalo Sabres general manager, overseeing a team that suffered through an 18-game winless skid and finished dead last in the NHL.

Trying to fix the Sabres, who have missed the playoffs a record-tying 10 consecutive seasons, could be an arduous task.

Adams’ short list for this offseason includes hiring a coach, trying to re-sign his No. 1 goalie and top scorer and making sure his captain and ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark was injured April 13. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Linus Ullmark won’t play in finale; Sam Reinhart wins Martin Award

Buffalo Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark will miss Saturday afternoon’s season finale against the Pittsburgh Penguins, interim coach Don Granato said.

Granato said earlier this week that Ullmark, 27, likely wouldn’t be ready to return from his lower-body injury before the season ends. The Swede was injured April 13 and resumed skating with his teammates Monday.

So goalie Michael Houser, fresh off Thursday’s 8-4 loss to the Penguins, will start his fourth straight game. Houser, ... Read the full article

Anders Bjork has played 13 games with Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Anders Bjork feeling comfortable with Sabres, earns promotion to top line

BUFFALO – In a 14-minute stretch Tuesday, Sabres newcomer Anders Bjork erased the New York Islanders’ lead, scoring two goals.

First, Bjork redirected defenseman Colin Miller’s point shot past Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin late in the second period. Then Bjork scored from the right circle 10:56 into the third period, tying a game the Sabres would win 4-3 in a shootout.

What do both goals have in common? Bjork, 24, created them by tenaciously ... Read the full article

Buffalo goalie Michael Houser is embraced after Monday’s win by teammates Will Borgen (left) and Rasmus Ristolainen. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres goalie Michael Houser shines in NHL debut: ‘A very special night’

BUFFALO – Eight teams, nine seasons and 284 games into his pro career, Sabres goalie Michael Houser made his NHL debut, stopping 34 shots in Monday’s 4-2 come-from-behind win over the New York Islanders.

In a dreadful year in which the Sabres could finish dead last again, Houser’s first big league start created a feel-good story that provided some excitement and intrigue to a meaningless late-season game.

Houser, 28, has spent most of his career ... Read the full article

Jacob Bryson believes Buffalo played better than Thursday’s 5-2 loss indicates. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres started winning, showcased rapid improvement in April

A month ago, the Buffalo Sabres were in the midst of an embarrassing 18-game winless skid, so finishing April with a 6-8-2 record illustrates their rapid improvement in barely four weeks.

Remember, the Sabres had trouble scoring a single goal most games in February and March. Now, they’ve morphed into a team capable of beating any of their heavyweight East Division opponents.

Of course, they’re not exactly a playoff-caliber team yet. But they’re clearly getting ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart has scored six goals in the last three games. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Sam Reinhart morphing into star as center

As Sam Reinhart’s career progressed and he stayed put at right wing, the odds of the Buffalo Sabres moving him back to center, his natural position, seemed low.

Reinhart, 25, established himself as a perennial 20-goal scorer as a winger. Even after the Sabres traded No. 2 center Ryan O’Reilly in 2018, creating a huge void in the lineup, they kept Reinhart beside top center Jack Eichel.

But a major injury and trades ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen looked impressive again Tuesday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen looks sharp, displays growing confidence

Interim Buffalo Sabres coach Don Granato could see how goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s body language displayed his growing confidence.

Nothing, it seems, can frazzle Luukkonen. The rookie looked sharp again throughout his second NHL start, stopping 38 shots in Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers inside Madison Square Garden.

The 6-foot-4 Luukkonen challenged shooters, tracked shots through traffic and stood his ground as players whacked at second chances – all signs of the Finn’s ... Read the full article