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

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

Cody Eakin scores his second-period goal Saturday afternoon. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres win again, starting to establish identity: ‘We are harder to play against’

BUFFALO – Forget about the Sabres’ 2-0 record. Any NHL team can win two consecutive games, especially at home.

The identity the Sabres have started to establish within those games under coach Don Granato is the important part. So far, they’re playing an up-tempo, tenacious brand of hockey.

It proves those victories could be a harbinger.

“We are harder to play against,” Sabres center Cody Eakin said after scoring a power-play goal in Saturday afternoon’s ... 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

Casey Mittelstadt began the season as Buffalo’s No. 1 center. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres lose Casey Mittelstadt, Henri Jokiharju to injuries: ‘Not short-term’

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ opening night 5-1 opening-night win proved to be costly. Top center Casey Mittelstadt and first-pair defenseman Henri Jokiharju will both be sidelined at least two weeks after suffering injuries, coach Don Granato said.

Mittelstadt suffered an upper-body injury when Brendan Gallagher hectored him after he intercepted a pass halfway through Thursday’s game. After going to the dressing room, Mittelstadt briefly returned to the bench before leaving the contest.

Granato said Jokiharju ... 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

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

Casey Mittelstadt has become one of the most recognizable faces on the Sabres. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

‘Deep dive’ into game helped Casey Mittelstadt become Sabres’ top center

BUFFALO – Don Granato first sensed it during the Sabres’ marathon offseason in 2020. Having been humbled by his demotion to the minors, Casey Mittelstadt grasped he had reached a critical juncture of his career.

When Granato, then an assistant coach, spoke to Mittelstadt, he could feel the center was evolving and maturing.

“He was putting all these pieces (together) of what people had presented to him,” Granato said following Wednesday’s practice.

Granato said Mittelstadt ... 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

JJ Peterka stayed in Buffalo until the end of training camp. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres prospect JJ Peterka has ‘tremendous opportunity’ with Amerks

BUFFALO – After Don Granato told prospect JJ Peterka the Sabres would be assigning him to the Rochester Americans, the coach stopped center Casey Mittelstadt in the hallway and asked him about his 36-game stint in the AHL.

Granato wanted to learn more about Mittelstadt’s surprising demotion two years ago, which turned out to be a turning point in his career.

“He had a half smirk, half smile on his face,” Granato said following Monday’s ... Read the full article