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Sabres fire head coach Granato

Bill Wippert / National Hockey League / Getty

The Buffalo Sabres fired head coach Don Granato, the team announced Tuesday.

Granato, 56, took over as Sabres head coach midway through the 2020-21 campaign. Buffalo went 122-125-27 with him behind the bench, failing to make the playoffs all four seasons.

"I would like to thank Don for his time in Buffalo and commitment to the Sabres organization," general manager Kevyn Adams said in a statement Tuesday morning. "He has been integral in the development of many of our players and has undoubtedly been the right coach to bring us to where we are now, but I felt it was necessary to move in a different direction at this point in time.

"My expectation is to be a consistent contender, and unfortunately, that goal has not been met."

Hours later, Adams elaborated with more pointed remarks. The GM said his team is "craving accountability and structure," according to The Athletic's Matthew Fairburn.

Adams also had a message for his players.

"It's go time," he said. "It's time to perform on an individual level and a team level."

The executive added that previous NHL head coaching experience will be "important" as he chooses Granato's successor, per Spectrum News 1's Rachel Hopmayer.

The Sabres finished sixth in the Atlantic Division with 84 points and a 39-37-6 record. Buffalo was expected to challenge for a playoff spot after a strong end to the 2022-23 season. The team finished one point back of the Florida Panthers for the second wild-card spot last year.

Granato is the seventh head coach the Sabres have fired in the 13 straight years they've missed the playoffs. He joins Lindy Ruff, Ron Rolston, Ted Nolan, Dan Bylsma, Phil Housley, and Ralph Krueger.

The Downers Grove, Illinois, native was under contract through the 2025-26 season after inking a two-year extension in October 2022.

The Sabres also dismissed assistant coach Jason Christie and video coordinator Matt Smith.

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