Sabres had good October, but not watching standings

Head coach Don Granato preaches win today, and everything else falls into place

Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) – I’ve been talking since the 2022-23 NHL schedule came out that October was an opportunity for the Buffalo Sabres. I thought October was their easiest month, and to keep the fans that have come back because of a young, exciting team, they needed to have a good opening month.

Buffalo opened the month going 4-1-0, and ended it with two impressive wins. I think a 6-3-0 month is just what they needed.

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Fans are starting to cautiously believe what they're eyes are seeing, and what are they seeing?

First off, Rasmus Dahlin has improved his game even more. He worked on his shot and he gets it off quicker, and it’s also harder.

Dahlin leads all NHL defensemen with 12 points in nine games, and also leads the entire league in plus/minus rating.

I watch the standings closely, and I see a team that’s second in the Atlantic Division, fourth in the Eastern Conference and sixth in the National Hockey League. I know many of you watch the standings too, but head coach Don Granato will have none of it.

During his weekly appearance on the "Howard and Jeremy Show" on WGR on Tuesday, Granato told Jeremy White he doesn’t want standings posted in their room.

“It’s definitely a day-to-day focus. I don’t look at the standings," the Sabres head coach said. "I think it’s completely irrelevant, because you just have to win and prepare for the next game. I think anything else after that is a complete distraction to winning the next game. And upon accumulation, you’ll be where you want to be.”

Jeff Skinner scored his 300th NHL goal on Monday, and he has played in 862 career NHL games. He says there aren’t defined team goals, when it comes to winning and losing.

“As players, we just try to chip away and continue to get better every day," said Skinner. "It’s easier to focus on the day or the task at-hand, as a player.

“We’ve put ourselves in this position, and we want to capitalize and continue to build momentum, and work on the good things in our game.”

Sabres goalie Craig Anderson has played 686 NHL games, so he, too, has seen it all. As far as if he keeps track of the standings, he doesn't believe it's necessary to.

“Usually if you’re doing things right and working the way you need to work, the standings take care of themselves," said Anderson. "I think internally, we simplified things, and we don’t look at the big picture. We just focus on the process, and if you do the process right, the standings usually take care of themselves. But as the season goes on, we’ll just try to see where things are at. But you can’t put the cart before the horse.”

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Sabres head coach Don Granato following his team's 8-3 win over the Red Wings on Monday
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Anderson has played in front of many different fans in many different cities throughout his career. For him, it’s Buffalo, Washington, Chicago, Ottawa, Florida and Denver.

“The one constant is if you do things the way you’re supposed to be doing them, you’ll get respect from the fans that are there," Anderson said. "They’ll create more energy and buzz for more of the fans to show up.”

Tage Thompson has been on fire, scoring five goals and nine points in two games. He’s on a season's pace that would net him 55 goals and 110 points over 82 games.

Buffalo is second in the league averaging 4.11 goals per-game. They are now averaging one more shot per-game than they’re giving up.

The Sabres’ goal differential is plus-12 this season, which is currently third in the NHL behind the Boston Bruins and Vegas Golden Knights.

Buffalo has a big week to finish with games against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Let’s see how November starts.

Photo credit Losi and Gangi
Featured Image Photo Credit: Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres)