Don Granato has coached in college, junior and pro hockey. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

If Sabres pass on Don Granato, hiring an ex-NHL head coach could be wise move

Right now, Don Granato must wait as Kevyn Adams conducts what could be an exhaustive search for the Buffalo Sabres’ next head coach.

The general manager reiterated last week he plans to talk to a lot of people, so it might take several weeks before he makes the most critical decision of his short tenure.

If Adams gets it wrong, it will likely set the franchise back years.

Granato’s work transforming the Sabres as interim ... Read the full article

Matt Ellis captained Rochester during his playing days. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres name Matt Ellis director of player development

General manager Kevyn Adams has turned to an old friend, Matt Ellis, to be the Buffalo Sabres’ new director of player development.

The Sabres today named Ellis, 39, to his first NHL front office post.

Ellis played 356 NHL games over nine seasons, including 286 contests with the Sabres, after going undrafted. Following his retirement in 2016, Adams hired Ellis as a development coach at the Academy of Hockey at Harborcenter.... Read the full article

Kevin Dineen led the Sabres’ AHL affiliate in Portland before moving up to coach Florida. ©2019, Hickling Images

Offering another chance to ex-head coach could benefit Sabres

BUFFALO – Coaches often evolve or reinvent themselves following their failures. Sometimes they swallow their pride to do it. They might return to junior hockey or the minors and start riding buses again. They might take an assistant or development job.

Remember that as general manager Jason Botterill searches for the Sabres’ sixth coach in barely six years after firing Phil Housley on April 7.

Sometimes the best candidates aren’t the names being bandied about. ... Read the full article

Liam Kirk drew a crowd at the NHL Scouting Combine. ©2018, Hickling Images

Draft prospect Liam Kirk aiming to become UK’s first NHL player

BUFFALO – Even after Liam Kirk reached the pinnacle of British hockey, earning a spot in his country’s top pro league at just 16 years old, the NHL remained a far-flung dream for the English prodigy.

After all, in the NHL’s long history, zero players who were born and trained in the United Kingdom have played even one game. So while Kirk said he always believed he possessed the talent to make the NHL, he ... Read the full article

Mike Sullivan worked in player development and coached in the AHL before being promoted to Pittsburgh. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres GM Jason Botterill wants coach with Mike Sullivan’s traits

BUFFALO – When Sabres general manager Jason Botterill interviewed Mike Sullivan for Pittsburgh’s AHL coaching vacancy two years ago, thoughts of the candidate’s unsuccessful run as an assistant in Vancouver were fresh in his mind.

“I had an impression,” Botterill said Thursday of Sullivan, who spent a tumultuous season with the Canucks in 2013-14 beside embattled coach John Tortorella.

But Sullivan changed that impression. The former Boston Bruins coach had just spent a year as ... Read the full article

Tim Murray was fired Thursday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres need to find new GM soon

BUFFALO – Given the speed at which the offseason moves, the Sabres must find a new general manager soon, perhaps in the next month, to replace Tim Murray, who was fired with coach Dan Bylsma on Thursday.

Of course, given owner Terry Pegula’s track record, would the Sabres even hire a GM first?

Remember, Pegula hired Pat LaFontaine as the team’s president of hockey operations in November 2013. LaFontaine lasted less than four months ... Read the full article

Paul Byron began his career with the Sabres. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Paul Byron, Sabres’ Tyler Ennis share special memories of early days

BUFFALO – Paul Byron and Tyler Ennis laughed and sounded nostalgic remembering their days growing up together as rookie roommates in the Sabres organization.

Byron, according to Ennis, is “not very good at video games.”

“A liar,” said a smiling Byron called Ennis on Wednesday.

These days, Byron and Ennis are happy NHL veterans.... Read the full article

Justin Bailey just scored his 20th goal. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Justin Bailey thriving with Amerks

ROCHESTER – Before Americans winger Justin Bailey started his first pro season, he set a significant goal for himself. The Williamsville native wanted to score 20 times, a tough number for anyone, let alone a rookie, to reach in this low-scoring era.

“I think it’s something that in the beginning I strived to accomplish,” Bailey said Thursday inside the Blue Cross War Memorial after the AHL club prepared for tonight’s home finale against the Albany ... Read the full article

David Leggio began his AHL career in Portland in 2010-11. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Williamsville’s David Leggio still looking for job, hasn’t lost confidence

David Leggio insists his terrible season hasn’t shaken his confidence. The Williamsville native, once one of the AHL’s best goalies, morphed into perhaps its worst last year, compiling a ghastly .861 save percentage and a bloated 3.93 goals-against average in 23 appearances with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Three seasons ago, Leggio garnered MVP talk as the Rochester Americans’ workhorse starter. His four-year run from 2010-14 was arguably as good as any AHL goalie.

Still, Leggio, ... Read the full article

David Leggio spent two seasons in Rochester. ©2015, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Williamsville’s David Leggio to attend Jets camp on tryout

Williamsville native David Leggio will attend Winnipeg Jets training camp next month on a professional tryout, the goalie’s agent, Brian Bartlett, told the Times Herald.

Despite a strong body of work in the AHL, Leggio, 31, is still unsigned for the 2015-16 season. He spent last season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Portland Pirates.

He struggled with Bridgeport, the New York Islanders’ top affiliate, posting a 3.93 goals-against average and a .861 save percentage ... Read the full article