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
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
BUFFALO – As the Sabres extended their lead in Thursday’s season opener and began throttling the Montreal Canadiens, the 8,000 or so fans watching grew louder and more excited, demanding more goals, singing the “Shout Song” and doing the wave.
On the bench, a couple of Sabres told newcomer Robert Hagg it had been a long time since the crowd inside KeyBank Center was so amped up.
“(They said), ‘Jesus, I haven’t been seeing this ... Read the full article
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 – 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
BUFFALO – Jacob Bryson’s Sabres teammates wanted to hear a joke from him last season, so he figured, what the heck, why not write a funny rap about some of them?
The defenseman took 30 minutes, typed some lyrics and returned with a “song” to perform for them.
Bryson poked fun at Rasmus Ristolainen’s long goatee, Cody Eakin’s “orange” hair and Casey Mittelstadt’s penchant for using an ARP machine, which aids in recovery.
“I would ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Tonight’s lineup resembles one the Sabres could use during the regular season. At least 16 of the 20 players will likely be on the opening night roster.
But among all the established talent the Sabres will dress, three rookies – goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and wingers J-J Peterka and Linus Weissbach – earned a spot.
Sabres coach Don Granato said Luukkonen, 22, will start tonight and play the entire preseason game against the Columbus ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Sabres newcomer Robert Hagg knew the Philadelphia Flyers would aggressively overhaul their roster. Instead of contending for the Stanley Cup last season, they imploded after a hot start, finishing a disappointing sixth in the East Division.
“The year we had last year was awful with Philly,” said Hagg, who was acquired July 23 in exchange for defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and two high draft picks. “So we kind of knew that something was going ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Ten Sabres – much of their established talent – will be making their preseason debut tonight at KeyBank Center.
So some of the line combinations and defense pairings the Sabres will be showcasing against the Pittsburgh Penguins could be utilized in the regular season.
Top center Casey Mittelstadt pivoted Jeff Skinner and Victor Olofsson this morning. On defense, Rasmus Dahlin skated beside Henri Jokiharju, his partner late last season.
Coach Don Granato said ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Sometimes, Mark Pysyk said, it seems like he only left the Sabres a week ago. Other times, however, he acknowledged it feels like it has been a long time.
The Sabres, who signed a one-year, $900,000 contract to return, left in 2016. Only one teammate from the affable defenseman’s first run here, center Zemgus Girgensons, is still with the team.
“I see him walking around, the way he plays, his body takes a ... Read the full article