Ilya Lyubushkin signed a two-year contract in the offseason. ©2022, Micheline Veluvolu

‘Russian bear’ Ilya Lyubushkin gives Sabres’ defense much-needed grit

BUFFALO – There are two distinct sides of Sabres newcomer Ilya Lyubushkin.

There’s the gritty, high-octane defenseman who’s detested by opponents. When Lyubushkin’s on the ice, you better have your head on a swivel.

“He’s a Russian bear,” captain Kyle Okposo said Monday in KeyBank Center after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s road game against Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers. “We enjoy having him on our side, for sure. He plays a hard ... Read the full article

Anders Bjork lost his spot in the lineup last season. ©2022, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres place Anders Bjork on waivers

BUFFALO – The Sabres on Monday placed forward Anders Bjork, a healthy scratch both games this season, on waivers, according to reports.

Bjork, 26, lost his spot in the lineup late last season and never regained it, sitting out more than a month straight.

This year, the American had an underwhelming training camp, and he never appeared to be close to cracking the forward corps.

With forward Riley Sheahan ready to be activated from ... Read the full article

Mattias Samuelsson enjoyed Sunday afternoon’s Heritage Classic. ©2022, Micheline Veluvolu

Mattias Samuelsson earning trust, big minutes from Sabres: ‘An athletic giant’

BUFFALO – The poise Mattias Samuelsson possesses belies his experience. Barely 30 games into his NHL career, the Sabres consistently utilize the rookie against the opposition’s top talent.

On Thursday, Samuelsson faced Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid. In Sunday afternoon’s 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, the defenseman was often tasked with shutting down Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, one of the NHL’s elite duos.

At one point Sunday, with Marner roaring toward him, ... Read the full article

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

Dylan Cozens had scored just one goal this season entering Friday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Dylan Cozens scores twice in ‘amazing game,’ stops Connor McDavid

BUFFALO – Earlier this week, Sabres coach Don Granato sat down with Dylan Cozens and watched some video clips. When they finished, he asked the second-year center if he felt ready to shadow Connor McDavid, hockey’s biggest superstar.

“I watched his body language,” Granato said after Cozens starred in Friday’s 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers, which ended a five-game winless skid. “If his body language was different, he wouldn’t have got that matchup. I ... Read the full article

Anders Bjork has scored three goals this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Gritty goal shows Anders Bjork starting to find game

BUFFALO – For a few weeks, Sabres winger Anders Bjork often looked invisible. The American couldn’t score. He dropped down the lineup, losing ice time.

“Bjork was searching for his game and he lost a feel of what he did,” Sabres coach Don Granato said.

So Granato said the Sabres let Bjork, 25, experience that rough phase before he and his staff started working with him more often and pinpointing things in his game.

“(We) ... Read the full article

Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl is a lethal scorer. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Leon Draisaitl as dynamic as Connor McDavid; Sabres to make one change

BUFFALO – Forget about Connor McDavid for a moment. The Edmonton Oilers have a player with more points than the superstar. Through 12 games, Leon Draisaitl has amassed a whopping 12 goals and 26 points, both NHL highs.

So far, McDavid, 24, has scored nine goals and 24 points.

Draisaitl, of course, is usually overshadowed by McDavid, a center widely considered hockey’s most dynamic talent.

But coach Don Granato, whose Sabres face the Oilers tonight ... Read the full article

Tage Thompson was switched to center this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Tage Thompson starting to realize potential: ‘Grown tremendously’

BUFFALO – Sabres coach Don Granato could see Tage Thompson possessed confidence. It was just that the talented center believed he would eventually reach his potential.

Granato wanted Thompson, 24, to understand the opportunity he had right now.

“I talked to him a lot in the last year about I know you are confident about success, but that confidence is somewhere off in the future, I’m going to be able to become the player ... Read the full article

Connor McDavid is probably his generation’s greatest talent. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres coach Don Granato wowed by Connor McDavid’s talents

BUFFALO – The most scintillating goal of superstar Connor McDavid’s career, the one in which he split four New York Rangers on Saturday, reminded Sabres coach Don Granato of a psychology study he once read.

“Fifty people see an incident, no one calls 9-1-1 because they think the other person’s going to call 9-1-1,” Granato said following Thursday’s practice. “That’s what it made me think of when I saw that.”

For the first time since ... Read the full article

Dominik Kahun’s Sabres career lasted six games. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Report: Oilers sign former Sabre Dominik Kahun to one-year contract

Former Buffalo Sabres winger Dominik Kahun has signed a one-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers, according to eichockeynews.com.

The deal is worth $975,000, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. Kahun had a salary cap hit of $925,000 last year.

The Sabres did not give Kahun, 25, a qualifying offer last month, making him a free agent. That decision, of course, raised some eyebrows.

Kahun looked impressive in six late-season games with the Sabres, scoring ... Read the full article