BUFFALO – In his first 12 games as interim coach, Don Granato’s most telling accomplishment has been his ability to unlock potential from several of the Sabres’ young players who struggled to stay in the lineup earlier this season.
Consider that in Friday’s 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals, center Casey Mittelstadt, defenseman Henri Jokiharju and winger Tage Thompson scored for the Sabres inside KeyBank Center.
All three players are 23 or under and spent ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Barely a year after Henri Jokiharju established himself as one of the Sabres’ top defensemen, he started struggling so badly he was demoted to the taxi squad.
Jokiharju, 21, sat out 10 games earlier this season. At times, he looked nothing like the steady defender from 2019-20.
But Jokiharju has settled down under interim Sabres coach Don Granato, showcasing more confidence beside Rasmus Dahlin, his partner over the last eight games.
Jokiharju ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – A few weeks ago, an early two-goal deficit like the Sabres experienced Thursday against the New Jersey Devils would’ve been insurmountable.
They would’ve folded and gone down meekly.
But over the past week or so, the Sabres have morphed into, well, a somewhat normal team. Yes, they’re still one of the NHL’s lightweights, but they’re much more competitive.
While Thursday’s 6-3 loss inside KeyBank Center ended their two-game winning streak and five-game point ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – After 34 days, more than 1,000 minutes of hockey and one coaching change, it appeared the Sabres would finally halt their winless skid Monday.
Instead, they suffered the most gut-wrenching loss of their 18-game streak, blowing a 3-0 third-period lead and falling to the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 in overtime inside KeyBank Center.
Good grief. What happened late? How did the Sabres suddenly start chasing the game after dominating it for 40 minutes?
“Panic ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – After morphing from a first-liner into a healthy scratch earlier this season, Tage Thompson could enjoy regular duty under interim coach Don Granato.
Thompson needs consistent action to buoy his development. The 6-foot-7, 219-pound winger has played only 17 NHL games in a more than two-year stretch.
Monday’s 4-3 overtime loss to Philadelphia Flyers at KeyBank Center was the Sabres’ 18th straight defeat. They have nothing to lose by playing him.
“It’s ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – The Sabres plan for injured goalie Linus Ullmark to join them on their four-game road trip later this week, interim coach Don Granato said.
The Sabres have imploded without Ullmark, their No. 1 goalie. Their 13-game losing streak began Feb. 25, the game he suffered a lower-body injury.
“We need to integrate him into practice,” interim Sabres coach Don Granato said on a Zoom call this afternoon. “At some point, that’s the next ... Read the full article
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
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
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
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