Cody Eakin scores his second-period goal Saturday afternoon. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres win again, starting to establish identity: ‘We are harder to play against’

BUFFALO – Forget about the Sabres’ 2-0 record. Any NHL team can win two consecutive games, especially at home.

The identity the Sabres have started to establish within those games under coach Don Granato is the important part. So far, they’re playing an up-tempo, tenacious brand of hockey.

It proves those victories could be a harbinger.

“We are harder to play against,” Sabres center Cody Eakin said after scoring a power-play goal in Saturday afternoon’s ... Read the full article

Kevyn Adams has been active on the waiver wire. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres add new defenseman, claim Christian Wolanin off waivers

BUFFALO – The Sabres added depth to their defense corps today, claiming Christian Wolanin off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings.

The move comes a day after the Sabres announced they will be without defenseman Henri Jokiharju for at least two weeks after he suffered a lower-body injury in Thursday’s 5-1 season-opening win over the Montreal Canadiens.

With Jokiharju injured, the Sabres had only six defensemen on the roster before claiming Wolanin.

To make room ... Read the full article

Tage Thompson moved to center earlier this month. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Tage Thompson, Dylan Cozens growing into roles as Sabres’ top centers

BUFFALO – Having coached Tage Thompson in junior, Don Granato learned years ago how much the Sabres’ newest center loves to be challenged.

“He’s bored if you don’t challenge him,” Granato said following Friday’s practice inside KeyBank Center. “I mean, he just likes to be pushed, he wants to be pushed.”

So earlier this month, Granato shifted Thompson from right wing to center, a more demanding position. Thompson, 23, grew up playing center and stayed ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt began the season as Buffalo’s No. 1 center. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres lose Casey Mittelstadt, Henri Jokiharju to injuries: ‘Not short-term’

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ opening night 5-1 opening-night win proved to be costly. Top center Casey Mittelstadt and first-pair defenseman Henri Jokiharju will both be sidelined at least two weeks after suffering injuries, coach Don Granato said.

Mittelstadt suffered an upper-body injury when Brendan Gallagher hectored him after he intercepted a pass halfway through Thursday’s game. After going to the dressing room, Mittelstadt briefly returned to the bench before leaving the contest.

Granato said Jokiharju ... Read the full article

Colin Miller (33), Zemgus Girgesons (28) and Cody Eakin (20) celebrate a Buffalo goal with Kyle Okposo on Thursday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Exciting win over Canadiens shows Sabres buying into Don Granato’s plan

BUFFALO – After Thursday’s dismantling of the Montreal Canadiens in the season opener, veteran goalie Craig Anderson explained what might make the Sabres, a rebuilding team many have pegged to finish dead last again, such an intriguing group.

“First and foremost, it’s not what you don’t have,” Anderson following the Sabres’ 5-1 victory inside a noisy KeyBank Center. “It’s what you do have. And that starts with our leadership.”

In his first weeks with the ... Read the full article

Arttu Ruotsalainen was regular late last season in Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Arttu Ruotsalainen sits out opener; Rene Robert honored

BUFFALO – For Thursday’s season opener, the Sabres had three extras, scratching forwards Arttu Ruotsalainen and John Hayden and defenseman Will Butcher.

In Ruotsalainen, they sat out one their most intriguing young forwards. The Finn, 23, enjoyed regular duty over the final month last season, compiling five goals and six points in 17 games.

In Butcher, they sat out one their higher-profile offseason acquisitions. The American, 26, compiled 74 points over his first two ... Read the full article

Buffalo goalie Craig Anderson made his NHL debut in 2002-03. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

At 40, Sabres goalie Craig Anderson earns remarkable achievement

BUFFALO – Nine months ago, as Craig Anderson’s 40th birthday approached, it appeared his long career could be over. Eventually, the veteran goalie parlayed a tryout with the Washington Capitals into a one-year contract.

Still, Anderson was their third netminder, spending most of the season on the taxi squad and playing just six games, including two playoff appearances.

Tonight, Anderson will be the Sabres’ opening night starter against the Montreal Canadiens, a remarkable late-career ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt has become one of the most recognizable faces on the Sabres. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

‘Deep dive’ into game helped Casey Mittelstadt become Sabres’ top center

BUFFALO – Don Granato first sensed it during the Sabres’ marathon offseason in 2020. Having been humbled by his demotion to the minors, Casey Mittelstadt grasped he had reached a critical juncture of his career.

When Granato, then an assistant coach, spoke to Mittelstadt, he could feel the center was evolving and maturing.

“He was putting all these pieces (together) of what people had presented to him,” Granato said following Wednesday’s practice.

Granato said Mittelstadt ... Read the full article

Don Granato knows the value of an early goal. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Don Granato plans to play fast-paced, exciting hockey

BUFFALO – Historically, NHL teams that score first or hold the lead at the end of the first period go on to win the game.

The Sabres won only 15 of their 56 games last season, finishing dead last. Still, when they opened the scoring, they compiled a strong 8-6-5 record. When they led after 20 minutes, they went 4-3-4.

Sabres coach Don Granato brought up the value of an early goal or lead Wednesday ... Read the full article

Mike Robitaille became a popular broadcaster after his playing days. ©2021, Janet Schultz

After decades of pain, ex-Sabres analyst Mike Robitaille feels hope

Editor’s note: This is the first in a three-part series on popular ex-Buffalo Sabres defenseman Mike Robitaille.

Until a few weeks ago, Mike Robitaille would wake up every morning dreading the shower. Taking one felt like hell. Moving his hands up to his head or below his waist might send a high-voltage shock through his chest, down his neck or even into his feet.

Of course, the searing pain he experienced wasn’t exclusive to the ... Read the full article