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

Don Granato took over Buffalo on March 17. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Kevyn Adams praises Don Granato, will talk to other candidates

Despite having interim status, Don Granato took a broad approach as Buffalo Sabres coach, opting for building and development over simply trying to win some games.

“I hate being a desperate team,” Granato said on an end-of-season Zoom call Wednesday. “Everybody can look and say, ‘My God, you’re in a desperate situation.’ Well, that’s fine if that’s your perception. But we’re not going to be a desperate team. We’re going to get better every day, ... 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

Casey Mittelstadt started thriving under interim coach Don Granato. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Many Sabres thrived with Don Granato: ‘I owe Donnie a huge thank you’

When Don Granato took over the Buffalo Sabres, Casey Mittelstadt had mustered one goal while mostly being utilized as a third- or fourth-line winger in his limited action.

Mittelstadt, 22, ended the season as the Sabres’ No. 2 center. After stints in the minors and on the taxi squad over the last year and a half, he developed into a consistent scoring threat, compiling nine goals and 17 points in the final 22 games.

The ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen left Saturday’s game after the second period. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres lose ugly game to Bruins, goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen to injury

After a solid few weeks, the Buffalo Sabres have started reminding everyone why they’ve occupied the NHL’s basement for months.

Saturday’s afternoon’s ugly 6-2 setback to the Boston Bruins was their fourth consecutive loss and fifth in the last six games.

In an outing reminiscent of the Ralph Krueger era, the Sabres looked disjointed all over the ice, allowing the Bruins to throttled them.

On top of their dismal performance, rookie goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen suffered ... 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 scored his team-leading 21st goal Sunday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres settle down after awful start, avert blowout against Rangers

Don Granato likes to joke that he talks about offense much more than defense. But the interim Buffalo Sabres coach, of course, stresses the less glamorous side of hockey.

“Even though I don’t speak of defense a lot, it’s a cornerstone,” Granato said on a Zoom call following Sunday’s 6-3 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. “I’ve joked around a little bit I don’t say it, but don’t underestimate how important ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 36 saves Friday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen shines in NHL debut, helps Sabres beat Bruins

BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen looked a little wonky early in his NHL debut, allowing a goal on the first shot he faced barely two minutes into the game. Later in the period, the Boston Bruins hit two goal posts.

But Luukkonen, 22, enjoyed plenty of help for much of Friday’s 6-4 win, allowing him to settle in and grow more comfortable as the night progressed inside KeyBank Center.

The Sabres stymied Boston’s offense ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has dressed as backup the last two games. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Excitement accompanies Sabres goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s first start

Right now, the Buffalo Sabres need top goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen.

Carter Hutton and Linus Ullmark are injured. Dustin Tokarski, who played in Thursday’s 5-1 loss to the Boston Bruins, started back-to-back games earlier this week. He can’t go again tonight against Boston inside KeyBank Center.

The Sabres’ only other goalie on an NHL contract, Michael Houser, has spent most of his career in the ECHL.

They’re out of options, so Luukkonen, ... Read the full article