BUFFALO – Hours before Tage Thompson’s clutch two-goal performance in Saturday’s 4-3, come-from-behind overtime victory, Sabres coach Don Granato gave his struggling center a simple message: relax.
Thompson, fresh off a breakout 38-goal season, admittedly demands a lot from himself. After scoring just once in the first seven games, he began feeling pressure to produce.
So Granato told Thompson, who turns 25 today, to stop trying to score the perfect goal and overthinking things. Just ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – The Sabres made three roster moves prior to Friday’s season finale against the Chicago Blackhawks, sending defenseman Casey Fitzgerald and goalie Aaron Dell to the Rochester Americans and recalling netminder Michael Houser.
The Amerks, who thumped the Utica Comets 8-1 in Friday’s regular-season finale at Blue Cross Arena, needed the victory to stay alive the AHL North Division playoff chase. Their defense has been decimated by injuries and recalls, so Fitzgerald’s arrival was ... Read the full article
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
BUFFALO – Adrenaline and excitement buoyed defenseman Will Butcher through his season debut. In his first outing in nearly five months, the Sabres ran the newcomer ragged, skating him more than 28 minutes.
While Butcher, 26, said he felt fine during Tuesday’s 5-4 shootout win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, the heavy workload caught up with him later.
“Yeah, it was a lot of minutes,” Butcher said following Wednesday’s sessions of training camp inside KeyBank ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – The new, more aggressive system Sabres coach Don Granato installed last season helped defenseman Henri Jokiharju transform his game.
Instead of laying back, Jokiharju, 22, could finally attack. After struggling for months under ex-coach Ralph Krueger, the Finn recaptured the steady form he showcased in 2019-20.
“It was way easier to play,” Jokiharju said Wednesday inside KeyBank Center. “You play the hockey, just go out there. You weren’t just passive or falling back. ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin sees something special in the Sabres’ latest rebuild. The roster upheaval created an opportunity for their young core players to transform the team.
Jake McCabe, Sam Reinhart, Rasmus Ristolainen and Linus Ullmark – four pieces of the old nucleus – are gone. Jack Eichel will likely be the next to leave.
So Dahlin, Dylan Cozens, Casey Mittelstadt and some other Sabres in their early 20s now form the ... Read the full article
Over the final weeks last season, defenseman Rasmus Dahlin shook off a ghastly three-month slump, morphing into the Buffalo Sabres’ most dynamic presence some games.
Dahlin, 21, started playing confidently again, showcasing a calmer, more composed style while utilizing his speed and embracing the physical side.
His transformation under new coach Don Granato illustrated that despite some struggles, he possesses the talent to develop into one of the NHL’s premier defensemen.
In the near ... Read the full article
The Buffalo Sabres have agreed to terms with defenseman Rasmus Dahlin on a three-year, $18 million contract, the team announced this morning.
Dahlin, 21, was the Sabres’ last restricted free agent. The Swede’s $6 million average annual value is the highest among the team’s defensemen.
Having traded Rasmus Ristolainen and lost Jake McCabe in free agency, the rebuilding Sabres will rely heavily on Dahlin this season.
... Read the full article
Mark Pysyk said the move shocked him. He had played defense his entire career, and the Florida Panthers suddenly wanted to utilize him as a forward.
But Pysyk had become a spare part in the 2019-20 season under new coach Joel Quenneville. Shifting to wing beat the alternative of remaining a healthy scratch.
So Pysyk embraced the change, often skating on the fourth line while moving back to defense as a penalty killer.
“It was ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – General manager Kevyn Adams’ strong words sounded like a not-so-subtle message to Jack Eichel’s agents, who recently said they expect the Sabres to trade their captain soon.
Adams won’t give in to Eichel’s demands and simply deal his best player because he wants out. The Sabres have an asset under contract.
“What’s critically important to make sure is clear that we’re in control of this process,” Adams said Thursday inside KeyBank Center. “We ... Read the full article