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Sabres GM: 'I understand frustration, but I truly believe in this group'

Jeff Vinnick / National Hockey League / Getty

Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams can empathize with disheartened fans as the team continues to underperform in 2023-24, but the executive is standing by his squad.

"We're not where we need to be," he said Saturday prior to the Sabres' 3-2 overtime win against the Columbus Blue Jackets, according to The Buffalo News' Lance Lysowski. "I understand frustration, but I truly believe in this group. I truly believe in the players, and I also believe that we will come out the other side better for it. It's adversity, it's frustration, and we need to push through."

"All of us certainly expect us to be playing at a higher level and I believe we will be," he added. "I understand that people are going to be frustrated with me, frustrated with the coaching staff, but that's part of the deal."

Buffalo narrowly missed the playoffs by one point last campaign and seemed primed to snap its lengthy 12-year postseason drought in 2023-24. However, the Sabres have struggled through the first three months of the season and currently sit in seventh place in the Atlantic Division with a 15-18-4 record.

The bulk of fans' ire has been directed at head coach Don Granato, who has been serenaded by chants pushing for his firing. Despite rumors that Granato may be on the hot seat, Adams gave the bench boss a vote of confidence.

"In terms of my belief in Donnie Granato, I have a lot of faith in him," he said. "I have a lot of trust in him. He's one of those types of coaches that he looks at every situation to how he can help individual players perform at their best and then how do we get (there) collectively as a team?

"And I think he's done a lot of great things during his time as head coach here, and now we're all going to just keep pushing each other to be better."

Sabres captain Kyle Okposo and forward Tage Thompson also expressed support for Granato earlier in December. Granato is in his fourth season behind the Sabres' bench and has amassed a lackluster 97-106-25 record.

Buffalo announced prior to Saturday's game that Granato will be unavailable due to illness. Adams said he expects Granato to also miss Sunday's contest against the Ottawa Senators, but he could return for Thursday's clash versus the Montreal Canadiens.

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