Cody Eakin has enjoyed a strong start this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres lose Cody Eakin to injury; Mattias Samuelsson nearing return

BUFFALO – Sabres center Cody Eakin, who crashed feet-first into the net during Wednesday’s practice, will miss at least the next two games, coach Don Granato said Thursday.

Following games Friday against the Boston Bruins and Saturday versus the New Jersey Devils, Granato said Eakin will be day-to-day. The Sabres also play Monday and next Thursday.

“What we’re gauging is probably the later game,” Granato said of Thursday’s road contest against the Anaheim Ducks.... Read the full article

Rasmus Asplund enjoyed a strong finish last season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Confident Rasmus Asplund thriving in bigger role with Sabres

BUFFALO – The genesis of winger Rasmus Asplund’s arrival as an everyday NHL player can be traced to Sabres coach Don Granato’s promotion last season.

For two months, Asplund had shuttled between the active roster and taxi squad, earning sporadic duty – just five of the first 29 games – during the Sabres’ miserable start. He even returned to the minors for three contests.

Then days after Granato took over, he inserted Asplund, who quickly ... Read the full article

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

Jeff Skinner scores the go-ahead goal Tuesday against Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres win again, improve to 3-0: ‘We want to prove all the doubters wrong’

BUFFALO – Maybe, just maybe this is the start of something special. With Tuesday’s thrilling 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks, the Sabres improved to 3-0 for the first time in 13 years. That they’ve done it with a roster devoid of stars doesn’t mean it’s a fluke.

Right now, the Sabres play with purpose, speed and for each other. They come at their opponents in waves. They’re fun to watch and don’t seem to ... 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

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

Zemgus Girgensons is beginning his ninth season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres coach Don Granato excited to name new alternate captains

BUFFALO – In naming wingers Zemgus Girgensons and Kyle Okposo alternate captains, coach Don Granato did more than choose the Sabres’ longest-tenured players.

Granato wanted two veterans who possess the ability to make everyone around them better.

“They’re confident within their role in the NHL,” Granato said following Tuesday’s practice inside KeyBank Center. “I mean, what’s coming at them, they have a great sense of objective, and because of that, their confidence. And they have ... Read the full article