Buffalo Sabers put interim head coach Don Granato on COVID-19 protocol

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Buffalo Sabers put interim head coach Don Granato on COVID-19 protocol


PITTSBURGH – Buffalo Sabers general manager Kevyn Adams takes a close look at the mess he has in his hands.
Adams stepped in as the head coach in Thursday night’s 4-0 loss to Pittsburgh after interim coach Don Granato and his assistant Matt Ellis were placed in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol, the strange final turn for the worst team in the league.

“For me, I’m comfortable,” Adams said ahead of a loss that extended Buffalo’s losing streak to 16 games. “Obviously I watched every game, and with the team all season. I know the team very well, the staff – I know the trends. ”

Adams, 46, played 10 seasons for six teams in the NHL before retiring in 2008. He spent two years as an assistant coach for the Sabers from 2011 to 2013 and became general manager last summer.

“Obviously I was behind a front bench,” Adams said. “I think the players also know that in these situations it’s an opportunity for them to face adversity in their own way and come out of it better, isn’t it? ”

The Sabers were no better on Thursday after being beaten by the Penguins.

“It’s terrible to lose in any way,” Adams said after the game. “Ice level, press box level. Coach-player. … You want better. What I told the guys after the game is we’re all in it. We are there together. ”

Buffalo now has the longest skid in the NHL since Pittsburgh went 0-17-1 from Jan.13 to Feb.22, 2004.

Adams’ appearance on the bench could be short lived. The team summoned Seth Appert from its American Hockey League affiliate in Rochester, New York. Adams said there was a chance that Appert would arrive at some point during the game.

Adams said that Granato – who missed two months last fall while battling severe pneumonia and undisclosed complications – and Ellis “are doing well; they both feel good ”.

Granato’s health issues are just part of a bizarre spin that saw head coach Ralph Krueger sacked last week as losses piled up and star Jack Eichel was limited to 21 games due to injuries.

“Look, you get up in the morning no matter what job you do and you do your best, you face the day,” Adams said. “My philosophy is that you take it all head on, you do your best, you are honest, you put your head down and get the job done. Some days have been extremely difficult, some days have just been difficult. ”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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