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GM Kevyn Adams to coach Sabres as Granato, Ellis enter COVID protocols

Bob McKenzie provides the latest on Buffalo, including general manager Kevyn Adams' plans to fill the assistant GM position and if there's anything imminent on the trade front.

[UPDATE: Granato and Ellis cleared protocol on Friday and will join the Sabres for Saturday’s game in Boston.]

Sabres interim head coach Don Granato and assistant Matt Ellis will not be behind the bench in Pittsburgh Thursday night as both entered the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols.

According to the team, both are self-isolating and GM Kevyn Adams will coach the team as the Sabres look to snap a 15-game losing streak.

“There’s not a lot I can say right now,” Adams said during his pre-game availability. “This just happened in the last couple of hours. I don’t really have any information.”

Adams did say both Granato and Ellis “feel great” and are currently showing no symptoms.

No Sabres players were listed on Thursday’s NHL COVID Protocol Related Absences update.

Granato, a Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor who was also hospitalized with severe pneumonia last season, was named interim head coach March 17 after the Sabres fired Ralph Krueger when their current losing streak was at 12 games.

This isn’t the first time this season and NHL team’s coaching staff was affected by COVID-19. Last week, Rangers head coach David Quinn and his assistants entered into quarantine, forcing AHL Hartford head coach Kris Knoblauch to take over. Assistants Jacques Martin and Greg Brown will be back on the bench Thursday against the Flyers, while Quinn and David Oliver remain in quarantine.

Earlier this season Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon manned the bench after the Vegas coaching staff were forced into the COVID-19 protocols.


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.