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

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

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

Jacob Bryson played 38 games as a rookie last season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Jacob Bryson’s rapping, on-ice play endearing him to Sabres

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 rookie J-J Peterka scored in his preseason debut. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ J-J Peterka, Linus Weissbach earn chance in veteran lineup

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

Robert Hagg joined Buffalo on July 23. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Trade to Sabres energized Robert Hagg: ‘I can’t wait to get to Buffalo’

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

Victor Olofsson might be a first-liner for Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres to dress lineup with established talent against Penguins

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

Aaron Dell signed a one-year contract with Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres goalie Aaron Dell excited for fresh chance, happy to change number

BUFFALO – Aaron Dell smiled as he recalled his unlikely journey. Having started at the bottom in the now-defunct Central Hockey League, the Sabres newcomer beat long odds to play just one game in the big leagues.

Today, Dell, 32, is a five-year NHL veteran who has made 114 appearances. Early in his career, he was one of the league’s best No. 2 goalies with the San Jose Sharks, compiling a 26-11-5 record over his ... Read the full article

Buffalo’s Tim Connolly (left) and Pittsburgh Tim Connolly participated in the first Winter Classic in 2008. ©2021, Janet Schultz

Sabres to play Maple Leafs in Heritage Classic outdoor game in March

The Buffalo Sabres are heading outdoors this season.

The NHL today announced they’ll be playing in a Heritage Classic game March 13, 2022 against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ont. Word of the Sabres’ participation in the outdoor contest spread late last month.

Despite playing 63 miles from KeyBank Center, the Sabres will be considered the “home” team for the 3 p.m. game, which will be broadcast nationally on TNT. ... Read the full article