The Buffalo Sabres have named Don Granato of Downers Grove, IL their interim head coach according to John Vogl of The Athletic on Wednesday. Granato takes over from Ralph Krueger, who was relieved of his duties, after being the Sabres head coach for a season and a half.
The firing of Krueger came as no surprise whatsoever. The Sabres are built to win now, and the bottom line is they are not doing it. They are currently the worst team in the East Division with a record of six wins, 18 regulation losses, and four losses in extra time. The Sabres not only have the worst record in the East Division, but the entire National Hockey League. With 16 points, they have six fewer points than the Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils, and Anaheim Ducks. The Red Wings, Devils, and Ducks have not made coaching changes in their abbreviated season because they were not expected to contend. The Sabres were, and so far this season, they have been a colossal failure.
Granato was named the Sabres head coach despite the fact he never played in the National Hockey League. However, he has a wealth of coaching experience in the National Hockey League as an assistant coach. Granato was previously with the St. Louis Blues in 2005-06, the Chicago Blackhawks from 2017 to 2019, and with the Buffalo Sabres from 2019 to 2021.
Granato also is in a strong hockey family. Don’s sister Cammi won a gold medal in women’s hockey at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, as well as the 2005 International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Hockey Championship in Linkoping, Sweden, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto in 2010. Meanwhile, Don’s brother Tony played 13 seasons in the NHL with the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, and San Jose Sharks from 1988 to 2001. In 774 games, Tony had 248 goals and 244 assists for 492 points.