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Subban joins Sabres for practice in Raleigh

News and notes following Friday's practice

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Malcolm Subban joined the Sabres for practice at PNC Arena on Friday, his sights set on a new opportunity following what he believes was a summer of personal growth. 

The Sabres acquired Subban from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for future considerations on Thursday. The move added depth in goal with Craig Anderson now considered month-to-month as he recovers from an upper-body injury and Dustin Tokarski in the NHL's COVID-19 protocol.

Subban, 27, had spent this season as one of three goaltenders in AHL Rockford, where he posted an .893 save percentage in five contests.

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Mittelstadt to return to lineup Thursday in Florida

Forward has been out since opening night with upper-body injury

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

SUNRISE, Fla. - Casey Mittelstadt will return to the Sabres lineup when they open a two-game road trip against the Florida Panthers on Thursday, coach Don Granato announced.

Mittelstadt sustained an upper-body injury midway through Buffalo's regular-season opener against Montreal. He began skating with the team last Wednesday and has spent the last two practices centering a line with Zemgus Girgensons and Rasmus Asplund.

"It's obviously been nice to be back with the boys and get in some practice and have some contact," he said. "Get your timing back a little bit. Obviously, there's going to be a little bit of that done in the game, but yeah, I'm excited. I've been chomping at the bit for a while now. I'm definitely excited."

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'This was meant to be' | Why Murray's 1st NHL goal had special meaning

The Sabres rookie scored with family in attendance on Hockey Fights Cancer Night.

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Melody Murray sat down Tuesday morning with a cup of tea and poured over the scrapbook she compiled over the years, a collection of images logging her son's journey from the backyard pond to NHL arenas.

She had just witnessed his latest milestone on Monday. Melody was in attendance along with Brett Murray's girlfriend, Katelyn Hochgeschurz; his sisters, Arika and Alicia; and his father, John, when the Sabres rookie scored his first NHL goal against Seattle inside KeyBank Center.

Melody's phone lit up with messages following the goal, many of which shared a prevailing theme. 

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Sabres ready for stretch of 5 games in 7 days

Notes from Saturday's practice at LECOM Harborcenter

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Zemgus Girgensons gathered pucks at center ice as his teammates circled up for their post-practice stretch at LECOM Harborcenter. On the eve of their busiest week of the season, the Sabres opted to stick around on the ice just a bit longer. 

Players tapped their sticks on the ice and chanted throughout a team-wide shootout competition, the culmination of a spirited practice that marked a tonal shift from 24 hours prior. True to their word, the Sabres took a day to digest a disappointing 5-0 loss to the Flames and then set their sights forward.

"The comforting thing is we know we have a group that wants to play for each other," coach Don Granato said afterward. "And that shows. You see it in practice, see the way they work."

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Jokiharju returns to practice, upgraded to day to day

Notes from Friday's practice at KeyBank Center

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Henri Jokiharju returned to practice with the Buffalo Sabres on Friday and could join the lineup at some point next week, coach Don Granato announced.

Jokiharju sustained a lower-body injury after taking a shot off his ankle during the season opener against Montreal. He is considered day-to-day but is not expected to play against the New York Rangers on Sunday. 

"Henri looked great," Granato said. "It's a matter of strength and making sure we give him the time to get back to strength. But he looked great and the only concern going forward would be how he may fatigue. But I was happy with the first day. He skated hard in his rehab skates and he certainly had no problem with the pace today." 

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Mittelstadt progressing from upper-body injury

Coach Don Granato provided updates on the team's injured players on Monday

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Buffalo Sabres forward Casey Mittelstadt is progressing in his rehab from an upper-body injury and could be the closest of the team's injured players to a return, coach Don Granato said Monday. 

"He's still progressing, which is good news," Granato said. "That might mean it's less than a couple of weeks or around there if he continues to progress. But with the type of injury he has, we still need to see that progression. That's a very optimistic timeline."

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Thompson playing with 'swagger' after move to center

Notes from Thursday's practice at KeyBank Center

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Tage Thompson always maintained the belief that he would eventually fulfill the potential that made him a first-round draft choice by the St. Louis Blues in 2016. 

A challenge from Don Granato inspired him to speed up the process.

"I feel like I've always known that my potential's there and that I could eventually reach it," Thompson said Thursday. "He just, coming into the season, challenged me to go and reach it now."

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Pysyk adding a calming presence to Sabres' defense corps

Notes from Wednesday's practice at KeyBank Center

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Don Granato turned to Mark Pysyk to play an elevated role with the Sabres defense in need of a deep breath against the Washington Capitals on Monday.

Pysyk moved to a defense pair with Rasmus Dahlin and skated 22:15, his highest ice time in a single game since February 2019.

"He's a real stabilizing personality," Granato said. "He's been in the league a long time and has a calm to his game. I think that was at a premium for us at that moment, to have a little bit more calm."

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Asplund's all-situations role has factored into 6-game point streak

Notes from Sunday's practice at KeyBank Center

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Rasmus Asplund spent part of his offseason skating with the Swedish Hockey League club Rogle BK. He had a specific answer in mind when the team's skills coach asked him about areas to target in his training.

"I said there might be an opening in the net-front spot and I want to work on some stuff there," Asplund recalled after practice inside KeyBank Center on Sunday. 

Asplund has tallied points in six straight games following a two-assist effort against Detroit on Saturday. His 10 points (4+6) in 11 contests this season lead the Sabres.

The production is a result of the 23-year-old forward's development into an all-situations player. He ranks fifth among Sabres forwards in shorthanded ice time and fourth on the team in power-play ice time. His overall average ice time of 17:37 ranks second among forwards behind linemate Tage Thompson. 

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Quinn taking care of 'unfinished business' with Amerks

Notes following Monday's practice in San Jose

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Don Granato has had countless conversations with players regarding roster decisions during his nearly three decades of coaching. His chat with Jack Quinn at the end of training camp stands out. 

The Sabres assigned Quinn to Rochester on Oct. 7, just a week ahead of the regular-season opener. Granato and general manager Kevyn Adams met with Quinn to deliver the news, which was particularly difficult given how highly they thought of his effort at camp. 

Granato relayed Quinn's reaction to the media on Monday, hours after the 20-year-old forward was named AHL Rookie of the Month for October.

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