BUFFALO – Can you picture Sabres captain Kyle Okposo wearing a different uniform, say, for example, the Black and Gold of the rival Boston Bruins or the colors of another Stanley Cup contender?
When Okposo, 35, signed a one-year contract to return for his eighth and perhaps final season here, it felt like he would retire with the Sabres. Over the past three years, he has very much been the face of the team, helping ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Don’t blame Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. Sure, the Sabres goalie probably wants the tying and go-ahead goals back. Coach Don Granato said the Finn usually makes routine saves on those plays.
But Sunday’s 5-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets, a game the Sabres led 2-1 after two periods, had nothing to do with Luukkonen, who started his second game in as many nights.
“He’s been great for us,” said Granato, whose Sabres were 19-0-1 when ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – In the not-so-distant past, if the Sabres had blown a two-goal lead in a matter of minutes like they did Saturday, they likely would’ve lost.
So their 7-2 dismantling of the Vegas Golden Knights before a noisy crowd of 16,693 fans in KeyBank Center represents growth.
Coach Don Granato has recently been saying the Sabres have matured and become better equipped to handle adversity. Saturday’s triumph over the defending Stanley Cup champion and ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – When the Sabres sent defenseman Jacob Bryson to the minors for the first time in almost three years, he knew the assignment would be temporary.
Playing in the AHL could help Bryson, 26, find a groove after sitting out 29 of the first 32 games as a healthy scratch, and return to Buffalo ready to contribute.
“That was the plan,” he said prior to Thursday’s 4-0 loss to the Florida Panthers in KeyBank ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – In recent weeks, Sabres defenseman Owen Power has shaken off a slow start and recaptured some of the form that helped him enjoy a dynamic rookie season.
“He’s just played with more confidence, a little bit more calm with the puck and little bit more assertiveness physically without it,” Sabres coach Don Granato said Tuesday morning after announcing Power will be sidelined week to week with an upper-body injury. “I think a combination ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – When their six-game home stand began, the Sabres had an opportunity to ignite a run and roar into playoff contention. Instead, they blew perhaps their best chance to make up ground against their Eastern Conference foes.
The Sabres finished their longest stint at KeyBank Center this season 3-3-0. Kind of meh.
Overall, having gone 5-3-0 in their last eight outings, they’ve showcased improvement, most notably defensively. Still, they must make up seven points ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Early in Monday afternoon’s 3-0 win, Sabres coach Don Granato shuffled his lines to give them more directness.
Most notably, he shifted Casey Mittelstadt from left wing on the top line, where he had been subbing for Jeff Skinner, to center, his natural position, between Jordan Greenway and captain Kyle Okposo.
To replace Mittelstadt alongside center Tage Thompson and Alex Tuch, he promoted 18-year-old rookie Zach Benson, who began the game playing with ... Read the full article
PITTSBURGH – Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen calmly faced each breakaway, patiently waiting in position in his crease as Penguins roared toward him. Each time, the Buffalo Sabres goalie stymied his opponent, barely moving and making the stops look easy.
In Saturday’s first period, shortly after Sabres winger Alex Tuch scored 2:53 into the game, superstar Sidney Crosby became Luukkonen’s first victim. In the second period, the Finn thwarted Rickard Rackell’s attempt. Later in the second, he stoned ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Once, when Sabres rookie Devon Levi was 10, he visited a restaurant in Montreal and had some pictures taken with his idol, Canadiens goalie Carey Price.
Another time, Levi’s girlfriend spotted Price at a basketball game and handed him the phone. The netminders ended up chatting on FaceTime for a bit.
Then prior to Levi’s fifth NHL start on April 10, Price texted him some words of advice before the Sabres beat the ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Forty-five minutes prior to the Sabres’ 3-2 overtime victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets, general manager Kevyn Adams acknowledged he understands the frustration directed toward himself, coach Don Granato and the assistants.
The Sabres have woefully underachieved this season, morphing from one of the NHL’s up-and-coming young teams into perhaps its biggest disappointment.
They’re wildly inconsistent, regularly get outworked, often fall behind early in games and have trouble scoring and preventing goals. Nearly ... Read the full article