Buffalo claimed Drake Caggiula off waivers last season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Drake Caggiula focused on showcasing offensive side

BUFFALO – As Sabres winger Drake Caggiula dropped down the lineup, his confidence in his offensive abilities nearly vanished.

Caggiula, 27, began his NHL career skating on scoring lines and the power play. Having just finished a dynamic college career, he was regarded as an offensive threat.

“I’ve always been an offensive player, all the way up until I got to the NHL,” Caggiula said prior to Tuesday’s 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks at ... 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

Christian Wolanin talks to the media Monday. ©2021, Olean Times Herald

Christian Wolanin thrilled to come to Buffalo, join Sabres: ‘It’s a hockey town’

BUFFALO – Barely two years ago, Sabres newcomer Christian Wolanin figured more NHL success would follow his standout rookie season. After morphing into a dominant AHL defenseman, he forced his way up to Ottawa, becoming one of the Senators’ regulars.

Then Wolanin tore his labrum preparing for training camp in 2019 and underwent surgery. The injury sidelined him until early March. Days after he returned, the COVID-19 pandemic ended the Senators’ season.

Last year, the ... 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

Robert Hagg played his first game with Buffalo on Thursday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Wild Buffalo crowd gave Sabres’ Robert Hagg ‘goosebumps’

BUFFALO – As the Sabres extended their lead in Thursday’s season opener and began throttling the Montreal Canadiens, the 8,000 or so fans watching grew louder and more excited, demanding more goals, singing the “Shout Song” and doing the wave.

On the bench, a couple of Sabres told newcomer Robert Hagg it had been a long time since the crowd inside KeyBank Center was so amped up.

“(They said), ‘Jesus, I haven’t been seeing this ... 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

Kevyn Adams has been active on the waiver wire. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres add new defenseman, claim Christian Wolanin off waivers

BUFFALO – The Sabres added depth to their defense corps today, claiming Christian Wolanin off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings.

The move comes a day after the Sabres announced they will be without defenseman Henri Jokiharju for at least two weeks after he suffered a lower-body injury in Thursday’s 5-1 season-opening win over the Montreal Canadiens.

With Jokiharju injured, the Sabres had only six defensemen on the roster before claiming Wolanin.

To make room ... 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