Casey Mittelstadt started thriving under interim coach Don Granato. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Many Sabres thrived with Don Granato: ‘I owe Donnie a huge thank you’

When Don Granato took over the Buffalo Sabres, Casey Mittelstadt had mustered one goal while mostly being utilized as a third- or fourth-line winger in his limited action.

Mittelstadt, 22, ended the season as the Sabres’ No. 2 center. After stints in the minors and on the taxi squad over the last year and a half, he developed into a consistent scoring threat, compiling nine goals and 17 points in the final 22 games.

The ... Read the full article

Don Granato parlayed one season in Peoria into an AHL job. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Championship season in Peoria set Sabres’ Don Granato on path to NHL

When Trevor Baker learned the Buffalo Sabres had promoted Don Granato to interim head coach, the enduring memories of the championship season they spent together flooded into his mind.

Twenty-one years earlier, Baker was a raw rookie forward for the Peoria Rivermen, an ECHL team led by Granato, a 32-year-old head coach and general manager.

Baker would enjoy a successful eight-year pro career, but in 1999-00 he was learning the rigors of pro hockey. Granato ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark was injured April 13. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Linus Ullmark won’t play in finale; Sam Reinhart wins Martin Award

Buffalo Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark will miss Saturday afternoon’s season finale against the Pittsburgh Penguins, interim coach Don Granato said.

Granato said earlier this week that Ullmark, 27, likely wouldn’t be ready to return from his lower-body injury before the season ends. The Swede was injured April 13 and resumed skating with his teammates Monday.

So goalie Michael Houser, fresh off Thursday’s 8-4 loss to the Penguins, will start his fourth straight game. Houser, ... Read the full article

Michael Houser won his first two NHL games before Thursday’s blowout loss. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres don’t help Michael Houser, get throttled by Penguins: ‘We owe him’

Almost eight minutes into Thursday’s second period, after the Penguins scored twice in a minute and grabbed a two-goal lead, it became apparent Sabres goalie Michael Houser wouldn’t enjoy a warm homecoming in Pittsburgh.

After winning his first two NHL games in Buffalo, Houser, 28, became the league’s feel-good story. A victory before about 20 family members and friends watching inside PPG Paints Arena would’ve made the most incredible week of his career even more ... Read the full article

Buffalo drafted Brett Murray in 2016. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres prospect Brett Murray thrilled to make NHL debut: ‘At a loss for words’

Buffalo Sabres rookie Brett Murray experienced an unconventional path to the NHL, moving backwards before taking small steps forward.

Three years ago, Murray, who made his NHL debut in Thursday’s 8-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, left Penn State and returned to junior. Before last season, after making a stronger commitment to his conditioning, he received an AHL contract.

Murray, a fourth-round pick in 2016, 99th overall, parlayed a solid rookie campaign with the ... Read the full article

Anders Bjork has played 13 games with Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Anders Bjork feeling comfortable with Sabres, earns promotion to top line

BUFFALO – In a 14-minute stretch Tuesday, Sabres newcomer Anders Bjork erased the New York Islanders’ lead, scoring two goals.

First, Bjork redirected defenseman Colin Miller’s point shot past Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin late in the second period. Then Bjork scored from the right circle 10:56 into the third period, tying a game the Sabres would win 4-3 in a shootout.

What do both goals have in common? Bjork, 24, created them by tenaciously ... Read the full article

Dustin Tokarski made 34 saves Sunday afternoon. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Goalie Dustin Tokarski looks sharp with little rest, helps Sabres beat Penguins

BUFFALO – Having played goalie into his mid-teens before switching to forward, interim Sabres coach Don Granato possesses a strong understanding of the unique position.

Granato knows the strain of playing back-to-back days often affects the goalie’s focus and other subtleties in his game. He might, for example, have trouble playing his angles or handling rebounds.

But in Sunday afternoon’s 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, goalie Dustin Tokarski looked sharper than he did a ... Read the full article

Mattias Samuelsson was recalled Sunday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres prospect Mattias Samuelsson looks impressive in NHL debut

BUFFALO – A month ago, recalling defenseman Mattias Samuelsson and giving one of their top prospects a taste of the NHL wasn’t an option for the Sabres.

They were in the midst of their marathon 18-game winless skid, and the defense corps, like every aspect of the team, was struggling. They couldn’t expose a rookie to that environment.

But the defense has been thriving under interim coach Don Granato and interim assistant Dan Girardi, ... Read the full article

Mattias Samuelsson was a second-round pick in 2018. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres recall Mattias Samuelsson from Amerks, make other moves

BUFFALO – The Sabres this afternoon recalled defenseman Mattias Samuelsson, one of their top prospects, from the Rochester Americans.

Samuelsson, 21, will make his NHL debut this afternoon against the Pittsburgh Penguins at KeyBank Center.

General manager Kevyn Adams and interim coach Don Granato have said they plan to give some of the organizations prospects a taste of the NHL over the final few weeks this season.... Read the full article

Tage Thompson has scored five times in the last nine games. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Tage Thompson, Sabres’ other young players grab starring roles

BUFFALO – The Sabres are finally playing meaningful late-season games.

Of course, the outcomes won’t affect the standings. Saturday afternoon’s 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins officially eliminated them from the postseason for a record-tying 10th consecutive season.

Still, the final weeks of this campaign will shape the Sabres’ future. Interim coach Don Granato has handed the keys over to some of his young players, and so far, they’ve seized their opportunities.

On Saturday, for ... Read the full article