Last night’s win vs. Toronto made it clear Granato has not lost the Sabres

The Buffalo Sabres made more than one statement last night, both that they can still be a high-scoring team, and that they won’t quit on their coach.

Dec 21, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA;  Buffalo Sabres left wing Jeff Skinner (53) celebrates his
Dec 21, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres left wing Jeff Skinner (53) celebrates his / Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Sabres may still be under 0.500, and no, we won’t know if they’re even capable of embarking on even a small winning streak until tomorrow night when they travel to Madison Square Garden. But one thing has become certain: If you give them a reason, they will play hard enough for head coach Don Granato.

On Tuesday night, they heard calls from the stands for management to fire Granato, and they answered that call with a 9-3 win over one of the Eastern Conference’s best teams. It proves that Granato has not lost the Sabres, and that the Blue and Gold is only too happy to remind fans and critics of that fact. And if you want confirmation, look no further than what captain Kyle Okposo said:

"“We wanted to do more than just say we have his back. We wanted to go out there and prove it, and I think we did a pretty good job of that tonight.”"

Kyle Okposo

Source: Sabres use wake-up call to embarrass Maple Leafs: ‘Now it’s all for Donny’ by Tim Graham, The Athletic

The Sabres are clearly not quitting on their head coach

Yesterday, I wrote an opinionated piece stating how reckless it would be if the Sabres made a coaching change at this point. Sure, whenever you come within a point from a playoff berth the previous season, you’re expected to take a step forward, so it’s easy to understand the fans’ frustrations. But the unusually high number of injuries are issues even the best coaches would have a tough time dealing with, so therefore, the stagnation wasn’t entirely on Granato. 

The team was healthier last night than it had been all season, and that, combined with the added motivation the Sabres had going for them, we saw a return to the fast, aggressive, high-scoring team we knew last season. If that didn’t happen between now and well into the new year, when the crew should have more than built chemistry, then yeah, something would be wrong. 

But as it stands, the Buffalo Sabres haven’t given up on their coach, and to be real, their convincing win last night shows us that if anything, they still respect Granato enough to more than prove they are merely capable of winning games for him. They are willing to run up the score if it means showing the rest of the league that they want Granato to stick around the City of Good Neighbors.