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

Victor Olofsson (12) stands between Toronto's Kasimir Kaskisuo (30) and Joseph Duszak (21) on Sunday afternoon. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Amerks lose in overtime, fall behind 2-0 to Marlies

ROCHESTER – Chris Taylor was seething following Sunday afternoon’s 3-2 overtime loss. Can you blame the Americans coach? Through 122 minutes of hockey, his team has thoroughly outplayed the Toronto Marlies.

But the Amerks have nothing to show for it. Just like that, they’re on the brink, down 2-0 in the best-of-five series AHL North Division semifinal playoff series.

The Marlies can eliminate them Wednesday in Toronto.

“I’m upset, I’m mad,” Taylor said after the ... Read the full article

Toronto's Chris Mueller, a West Seneca native, tries to convert a chance in front of Rochester goalie Scott Wedgewood on Friday. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Amerks can’t convert early chances, fall to Marlies in playoff opener

ROCHESTER – For the opening 25 minutes of Friday’s first-round playoff opener, the Americans blitzed the Toronto Marlies, beating goalie Kasimir Kaskisuo four times.

Of course, the puck never actually went in the net. The Amerks rattled it off the post or crossbar four times. They missed empty nets, a breakaway and pumped 15 shots on goal in the first period.

So instead of seizing a commanding lead, the Amerks let the Marlies hang around ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart has quietly enjoyed a terrific season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Sam Reinhart enjoys first hat trick in Buffalo

BUFFALO – On the first of his three goals Saturday afternoon, Sabres winger Sam Reinhart showcased a little flash.

After grabbing center Evan Rodrigues’ nifty one-handed pass, Reinhart unleashed a wicked wrist shot from the right circle, beating Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby over the right shoulder 12:51 into the 5-2 win.

Later in the contest, Reinhart put the Sabres up two goals again, sealing the game by tipping defenseman Matt Hunwick’s shot in front ... Read the full article

Scott Wilson will play this afternoon. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres’ Kyle Okposo skates; Danny O’Regan, Scott Wilson to play

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Kyle Okposo, out since suffering a concussion last Friday, skated this morning, coach Phil Housley said.

“That’s a great sign,” Housley said inside KeyBank Center. “He’s got a smile on his face. So those are all good signs for us.”

Okposo, 30, has a concerning history of concussions. The veteran hasn’t played since suffering another one fighting New York Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo.

Housley believes Okposo will play again this season.... Read the full article

Robin Lehner enjoyed a terrific season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Robin Lehner, Thomas Greiss forming dynamic tandem

BUFFALO – Before Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss morphed into the NHL’s best goaltending tandem, they struggled mightily a year ago, enduring rough seasons.

In 2017-18, Lehner, 27, battled personal problems while tending goal for the hapless Sabres, the league’s worst team. Meanwhile, Greiss, 33, played behind the New York Islanders’ porous defense, which allowed a league-high 293 goals.

But these days, the goalies are thriving, enjoying career-best campaigns for the upstart Islanders, who showcase ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt left the ice early this morning. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Casey Mittelstadt game-time decision for Islanders

BUFFALO – Sabres center Casey Mittelstadt suffered a “little bang” and is game-time decision for tonight’s tilt against the New York Islanders, coach Phil Housley said.

If Mittelstadt can’t play, another rookie, winger C.J. Smith, will move in. Mittelstadt left the ice a little early this morning.

Update: A lower-body injury will force Mittelstadt to miss tonight’s game.

Having compiled two goals and seven points over the last 10 games, Mittelstadt, 20, is enjoying ... Read the full article

Matt Hunwick has played sparingly this season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Zach Bogosian injury gives Matt Hunwick opportunity

BUFFALO – Since recovering from a neck injury that sidelined him the first 33 games this season, Sabres defenseman Matt Hunwick’s action has been extremely limited.

After playing two straight contests before Christmas, Hunwick, 33, watched 13 consecutive games as a healthy scratch.

Following a strong outing Jan. 29, Hunwick sat out another five games until Sunday afternoon, when Zach Bogosian’s lower-body injury – coach Phil Housley said he is day-to-day – pressed him ... Read the full article

Conor Sheary endured a long slump. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Conor Sheary scores, keeps building confidence

BUFFALO – Barely a minute into Saturday afternoon’s second period, Sabres winger Conor Sheary intercepted Justin Abdelkader’s weak backhand pass outside the opposing blue line and zoomed into the slot before beating goalie Jimmy Howard.

The slick goal, just Sheary’s third in the last 34 outings, served as another reminder the diminutive UMass product ranks among the Sabres’ most talented forwards.

“Once I got the turnover, I think I just tried to attack quick,” Sheary ... Read the full article