Buffalo is John Hayden’s fourth NHL team. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres excited to see John Hayden’s gritty presence for first time

BUFFALO – In his four full NHL seasons, Sabres winger John Hayden has never played more than 54 games, meaning he’s used to sitting for a week.

During the Sabres’ 3-0 start, Hayden, 26, has served as the extra forward, quietly preparing for an opportunity coach Don Granato said would come.

With center Cody Eakin injured, Hayden will be making his season debut tonight against the Boston Bruins at KeyBank Center.... Read the full article

Cody Eakin has enjoyed a strong start this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres lose Cody Eakin to injury; Mattias Samuelsson nearing return

BUFFALO – Sabres center Cody Eakin, who crashed feet-first into the net during Wednesday’s practice, will miss at least the next two games, coach Don Granato said Thursday.

Following games tonight against the Boston Bruins and Saturday versus the New Jersey Devils, Granato said Eakin will be day-to-day. The Sabres also play Monday and next Thursday.

“What we’re gauging is probably the later game,” Granato said of Thursday’s road contest against the Anaheim Ducks.... Read the full article

Cody Eakin has recorded two points this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Cody Eakin leaves practice after crashing into net

BUFFALO – Sabres center Cody Eakin was being evaluated this afternoon after crashing into the net during a practice drill.

Eakin, 30, skated to the bench on his own before leaving for the dressing room.

The Sabres are already thin at center, having lost Casey Mittelstadt to an upper-body injury in the season opener. If Eakin can’t play Friday against the Boston Bruins, the Sabres could be forced to recall a center from the Rochester ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner scores the go-ahead goal Tuesday against Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres win again, improve to 3-0: ‘We want to prove all the doubters wrong’

BUFFALO – Maybe, just maybe this is the start of something special. With Tuesday’s thrilling 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks, the Sabres improved to 3-0 for the first time in 13 years. That they’ve done it with a roster devoid of stars doesn’t mean it’s a fluke.

Right now, the Sabres play with purpose, speed and for each other. They come at their opponents in waves. They’re fun to watch and don’t seem to ... Read the full article

Don Granato knows the level of play will improve around the NHL. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Don Granato knows stiff challenges await Sabres

BUFFALO – Coach Don Granato understands in the big picture, the Sabres’ strong start means little. Sure, it’s nice to begin the season 2-0 at home. But they have 80 games left, starting with tonight’s contest against the Vancouver Canucks at KeyBank Center.

Early-season hockey often lacks structure as teams struggle to grasp their systems. In the coming weeks, the level of play will rise significantly.

“It was really nice to start at home and ... Read the full article

Rasmus Dahlin led Buffalo in ice time Saturday afternoon. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Don Granato wants to spread around ice time: ‘It’s a necessity’

BUFFALO – Sabres coach Don Granato doesn’t see a large talent gap in the 20 players he dresses each game. A first-line forward or top-pair defenseman isn’t much better than a fourth-liner or third-pair defender.

“We don’t have any wide range in discrepancy in our player pool,” Granato said prior to Saturday afternoon’s 2-1 shootout win over the Arizona Coyotes at KeyBank Center.

So Granato utilized every skater throughout the first two games this season, ... 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

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