The Buffalo Sabres seem like a different team since Ralph Krueger was fired and replaced with interim head coach Don Granato. While it was believed that Granato was strictly holding the fort down for the remainder of the season until the team could hire more experienced NHL coach, there are many voices suggesting that the Sabres may have already found their coach of the future in Granato.
In fact, the Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington notes that the team has played well under Granato, who has stressed the need for the players to have fun and has already made a positive impression on the play of Rasmus Dahlin, Casey Mittelstadt and Tage Thompson. He has practiced the team hard since taking over and while his team started at 0-5-1, he has turned the team around since then and has a 5-3-2 record since that point. His style of coaching is quite a bit different than the defense-first style of Krueger and the players seem to be responding to it, suggesting that Buffalo should hold onto what it has.
- After getting back Tuukka Rask recently, the Boston Bruins could be close to getting back another goaltender shortly as head coach Bruce Cassidy said Sunday that Jaroslav Halak has been skating on his own and could be eligible to return to the team on Monday. Halak was removed from the COVID Protocol list Saturday after having missed two weeks. The 35-year-old has been solid for the Bruins this season in 17 appearances, boasting a 2,44 GAA and a .910 save percentage and should help stabilize the net even more in Boston.
- New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said that the injuries to both Josh Bailey and Cal Clutterbuck are considered to be closer to day-to-day as opposed to week-to-week, according to Newsday’s Andrew Gross. However, he added that there isn’t a clear timeline for the return of either player. Bailey and Clutterbuck are expected to miss their second-straight game Sunday with a undisclosed injuries. Bailey has six goals and 25 points in 43 games so far this season, while Clutterbuck has three goals, nine points and 147 hits on the team’s fourth line this year.
- Washington Capitals defenseman Zdeno Chara missed his first game of the season Sunday after taking some painful shots off his body Saturday against Philadelphia, according to NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti. He is considered day-to-day.