Don Granato is excited about Buffalo’s future. ©2022, Micheline Veluvolu

One year after hiring, Don Granato has dramatically changed the Sabres

BUFFALO – Sabres coach Don Granato kept rattling off names. There was Taylor Hall, Brandon Montour, Sam Reinhart, Rasmus Ristolainen and Eric Staal.

“I’m probably missing a couple more,” Granato said following Wednesday’s practice at LECOM Harborcenter.

Then two more names, Jack Eichel and Jake McCabe, popped into his head.

One year ago today, Granato inherited a veteran-laden team at its nadir. The Sabres were 12 losses into what would become a stunning 18-game winless ... Read the full article

Matt Ellis (pictured) played for Lindy Ruff before coaching against him. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Matt Ellis debuts against Lindy Ruff, coach he knows best

BUFFALO – Of all the coaches the Sabres’ Matt Ellis could’ve faced in his first game filling in for Don Granato, it turned out to be the one he knows best, Lindy Ruff.

These days, Ruff, 61, coaches the New Jersey Devils, the Sabres’ opponent Wednesday at KeyBank Center.

Ellis, 40, played under Ruff for parts of five seasons, growing from a forward the Sabres plucked off waivers into an NHL regular. ... Read the full article

Will Butcher could enjoy a leading role in Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Will Butcher has special chance to reignite sputtering career

BUFFALO – Adrenaline and excitement buoyed defenseman Will Butcher through his season debut. In his first outing in nearly five months, the Sabres ran the newcomer ragged, skating him more than 28 minutes.

While Butcher, 26, said he felt fine during Tuesday’s 5-4 shootout win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, the heavy workload caught up with him later.

“Yeah, it was a lot of minutes,” Butcher said following Wednesday’s sessions of training camp inside KeyBank ... Read the full article

Tage Thompson made his NHL debut in 2017-18. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Tage Thompson excited brother Tyce will make NHL debut against Sabres

Tyce Thompson said he was speechless. Not only will the New Jersey Devils forward be making his NHL debut tonight, he gets to do it against his brother, Tage, a Buffalo Sabres winger.

“It’s the best way you could draw up a debut,” Tyce Thompson said on a Zoom call prior to tonight’s game. “To be able to play against my brother just makes it that much more special.”

Tyce Thompson, 21, signed his ... Read the full article

Lindy Ruff (pictured) worked with Sabres coach Ralph Krueger at the 2014 Olympics. ©2021, Dan Hickling, Hickling Images

Why did Ralph Krueger hide Sabres’ lines from Lindy Ruff, Devils?

BUFFALO – In Sunday afternoon’s pregame warm-up, Sabres coach Ralph Krueger showcased the same lines he had utilized the previous day against the New Jersey Devils, with one exception.

Casey Mittelstadt, who was replacing Tage Thompson, skated at left wing beside top center Jack Eichel and Victor Olofsson.

Then when Sunday’s contest started, Krueger changed three of four Sabres’ lines. Only one trio from warm-ups – center Cody Eakin, left wing ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen (right) celebrates his goal Sunday afternoon with Jack Eichel. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Rasmus Ristolainen wreaking havoc on power play

BUFFALO – As a defenseman, Rasmus Ristolainen understands how a big body in front of the net can be a weapon during a power play.

“If some other teams, they have some good net-front presence, I know how hard it is to play when there’s guys standing in front of the net screening (the) goalie all the time,” the Sabres veteran said after scoring a power-play goal in Sunday afternoon’s 5-3 loss to the New ... Read the full article

Lindy Ruff instructs his players on the bench Sunday afternoon. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Former Sabres coach Lindy Ruff feels ‘rejuvenated’ leading Devils

BUFFALO – For three years, ex-Sabres coach Lindy Ruff enjoyed no longer being the guy in charge as an assistant with the New York Rangers.

Ruff’s new duties – he hadn’t served in a secondary role since 1997 – offered him an opportunity to regularly interact with players on a much different level.

“Not having to be that guy that has to lay down the law or (be) really upset with different plays but more ... Read the full article

Tage Thompson skated on two lines Saturday afternoon. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Jeff Skinner replaces Tage Thompson on top line

BUFFALO – After skating on the fourth line all season, Sabres winger Jeff Skinner found himself in a familiar spot with top center Jack Eichel late in Saturday afternoon’s 4-3 shootout win over the New Jersey Devils.

After Tage Thompson struggled filling in for injured winger Sam Reinhart, Sabres coach Ralph Krueger promoted Skinner to the first line for the third period at KeyBank Center.

“We just weren’t pleased with five-on-five scoring-chance production so we ... Read the full article

Taylor Hall has recorded seven points in his first eight games with Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Taylor Hall moves beside Eric Staal, happy with start: ‘It’s been good’

BUFFALO – Taylor Hall’s eight-game start with the Sabres looks a bit underwhelming.

The ultra-talented winger has recorded just one goal, a power-play score way back on opening night, and was moved to the second line Thursday. He has mustered just one assist in the last five games.

Of course, two weeks is a small sample size. Hall has registered seven points, so he has produced offense at a rate close to his career average ... Read the full article

Chris Taylor spent three seasons leading Rochester. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Devils hire former Amerks coach Chris Taylor as assistant

The New Jersey Devils have hired former Rochester Americans head coach Chris Taylor as an assistant on Lindy Ruff’s staff, the team announced today.

Taylor played for Ruff over parts of four seasons with the Buffalo Sabres. Ruff, who was hired by New Jersey on July 9, also added Dave Rogalski as goalie coach to complete his staff.

Ruff named Mark Recchi and Alain Nasreddine his first assistants in September.

New Buffalo general manager Kevyn ... Read the full article