Buffalo Sabres fire head coach Don Granato after extending playoff drought to 13th season

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Sabres fired head coach Don Granato on Tuesday, making him the seventh coach to be ousted during what’s grown into an NHL-record 13-season playoff drought.

The move was announced by the team after the Sabres closed their season with a 4-2 win at Tampa Bay. They finished with a 39-27-6 record and had been eliminated from playoff contention last week.

Granato completed his third full season in Buffalo after taking over on an interim level in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic-shortened 2021 season after Ralph Krueger was fired. And the move comes with the 56-year-old Granato still having two seasons left on his contract, which featured an extension that kicked in to start next season.

Buffalo stumbled through a season in which the team won three straight games just twice and were too often unable to overcome slow starts.

This was not the expectation for a team that opened the season with GM Kevyn Adams declaring the window of contention as being open. The blossoming hopes were generated by the Sabres missing the playoffs by two points last season.

The playoff drought stands as being tied with the New York Jets as the longest active streak in North America’s four major professional sports.