Don Granato coached his first game Thursday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Don Granato faces challenges before first game as interim Sabres coach

BUFFALO – Instead of having a day or two of practice and preparation prior to his first game as interim Sabres coach, Don Granato had one meeting just two hours before the opening faceoff.

On Thursday, a day after the Sabres fired coach Ralph Krueger and named Granato, 53, his interim replacement, a member of their hockey staff entered the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. The Sabres, who had Wednesday off, canceled their morning skate and stayed ... Read the full article

Henri Jokiharju has had two stints on the taxi squad this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres recall Henri Jokiharju from taxi squad, make other moves

The Buffalo Sabres recalled defenseman Henri Jokiharju, who had sat out five out the last six games, from the taxi squad prior to Tuesday’s 3-2 road loss to the New Jersey Devils.

The Sabres also summoned defenseman Brandon Davidson from the taxi squad and sent rookie defenseman Jacob Bryson and center Rasmus Asplund back to the practice group.

Jokiharju, 21, established himself as one of the Sabres’ steadiest defensemen last season while playing all ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen has handled a heavy workload after recovering from COVID-19. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres have no plans to rest Rasmus Ristolainen: ‘He’s such a competitor’

BUFFALO – Rasmus Ristolainen’s harrowing battle with COVID-19 left him so weak he struggled to walk up the stairs in his home. The Sabres defenseman did not play for 27 days and missed seven games.

But since Ristolainen returned to the lineup Feb. 27, he has played all 10 contests, averaging 21 minutes, 28 seconds of ice time in the first nine entering Monday’s 6-0 loss to the Washington Capitals at KeyBank Center.

Have the ... Read the full article

Cody Eakin has scored just one goal this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres to make lineup changes, scratch Cody Eakin

BUFFALO – Sabres center Cody Eakin, who has scored just one goal in 26 games this season, an empty-netter, will be a healthy scratch tonight against the Washington Capitals.

Rasmus Asplund, who hasn’t played since Feb. 25, will replace Eakin between Tobias Rieder and Kyle Okposo.

Eakin’s penalty-killing prowess has helped the Sabres improve from 30th last season to fifth this year. His 57.5 faceoff percentage ranks first among Sabres who have taken at ... Read the full article

The Sabres signed Riley Sheahan to a one-year contract. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Injuries to Dylan Cozens, Jack Eichel force Sabres to promote Riley Sheahan

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ center depth has become so thin that Riley Sheahan, a fourth-line winger most of the season, centered the top line in Saturday’s 3-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Sheahan, 29, played center almost exclusively before joining the Sabres this season. When he pivoted the No. 1 trio on short notice after captain Jack Eichel was a late scratch Feb. 25, he scored just minutes into the game.

So Sheahan, the ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel has missed the last two games. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres captain Jack Eichel to be out for ‘foreseeable future’

Captain Jack Eichel’s upper-body injury will sideline him for “the foreseeable future,” Buffalo Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said this morning.

“Because of the nature of the injury, we can’t put a fixed date,” Krueger said on a Zoom call. “We’re expecting it to, yeah, go on a little longer.”

Krueger said earlier this week Eichel, 24, would miss a minimum of seven to 10 days.

Eichel appeared to hurt his neck when Casey Cizikas hit ... Read the full article

Dylan Cozen’s left Thursday’s game. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres rookie Dylan Cozens undergoing further evaluations, day to day

BUFFALO – Sabres center Dylan Cozens, who left Thursday’s 5-2 loss after getting hit into the boards, did not practice Friday and is day to day with an upper-body injury, coach Ralph Krueger said.

“We’re still doing further evaluations today,” Krueger said on a Zoom call.

Cozens’ head bit the boards hard and he got up slowly after Pittsburgh Penguins center Zach Aston-Reese hit him 2:27 into the third period. The rookie left the game ... Read the full article

Dylan Cozens has looked comfortable in the NHL. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Fast development earns Sabres’ Dylan Cozens promotion to No. 1 center

For almost two months, the Buffalo Sabres eased rookie Dylan Cozens into the NHL by playing him at right wing instead of center, his natural position.

Cozens, 20, kept seizing his opportunities, moving up the lineup and becoming one coach Ralph Krueger’s most trusted forwards just weeks into his career.

So when the upper-body injury captain Jack Eichel suffered Sunday afternoon kept him from playing Tuesday, instead of promoting a veteran, Krueger tabbed Cozens to ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner hadn’t scored a goal since Feb. 29, 2020. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Jeff Skinner finally scores, but Sabres lose seventh straight: ‘Not a fun time’

As their three-game set against the New York Islanders mercifully neared its end Sunday afternoon, the hapless Buffalo Sabres finally started displaying some signs of life.

After falling behind 3-0, winger Jeff Skinner’s first goal since Feb. 29, 2020 jumpstarted the Sabres 5:41 into the third period. Defenseman Colin Miller’s goal at 9:35 moved them within one.

Suddenly, the Sabres were pushing for the tying score inside Nassau Coliseum. And then a sequence that sums ... Read the full article

The Sabres assigned defenseman Henri Jokiharju to the taxi squad on Sunday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

‘Sophomore’ slump hurting Sabres’ Henri Jokiharju

Last season, his first in Buffalo, defenseman Henri Jokiharju morphed into the Sabres’ biggest surprise, showcasing a steady style that earned him coach Ralph Krueger’s trust.

So naturally, Jokiharju, 21, wants to advance his game this year and develop his offensive side.

“It’s part of the development for a young defenseman to come in and be very conservative and then try to build a more attacking, offensive game on top of that,” Krueger said on ... Read the full article