14 and counting

Cody Hodgson has two goals this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

Struggling Buffalo Sabres center Cody Hodgson is a scratch for tonight’s game in Vancouver against the Canucks, his former team.

Ouch.

Hodgson might be enduring the worst season of any NHL forward. Seriously.

The 24-year-old has two goals, seven points and minus-21 rating in 48 games. He has one point in his last 14 games and one goal in his last 39 contests.

Coach Ted Nolan scratched Hodgson for the first time in his Sabres career Dec. 13. Nolan’s patience has clearly run out. …

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Ryan Miller was once the face of the Sabres. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

For Ryan Miller, tonight’s game in Vancouver will be a special experience. The Canucks’ starting goalie hasn’t played against Buffalo since the Sabres traded the franchise cornerstone 11 months ago.

“I mean, it’s going to be a little bit strange,” Miller told reporters Thursday in Vancouver. “I’ll pay special attention not to pass the puck toward the Buffalo symbol. It’s going to be nice to see some of the faces that were there, but part of hockey is having fun competing …

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Nikita Zadorov got stuck in the Dominican Repulblic. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

The Buffalo Sabres lifted defenseman Nikita Zadorov’s suspension when he returned to the team Wednesday. Still, the 19-year-old defenseman won’t play tonight against the Oilers.

The Sabres suspended Zadorov on Monday after his flight from the Dominican Republic got oversold, leaving him stuck following the NHL All-Star break.

The Russian missed Monday’s practice and the team’s flight to Calgary. He was scratched for Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to the Flames.

“Somebody does that, you just don’t say, ‘I’m sorry’ and put them right back …

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An upper-body injury sidelined Brian Gionta 13 games. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Instead of jetting to a tropical locale during the NHL All-Star break, Sabres coach Ted Nolan went home to Northern Ontario to relax a bit and clear his mind.

“Guys go to beaches,” Nolan said Monday afternoon, “I go to snow and shovel my deck off and enjoy the family and friends.”

The Sabres, losers of a franchise-record 11 straight games in regulation entering tonight’s tilt in Calgary, sorely needed some extended time away from hockey. So with their last …

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Nikita Zadorov (51) will join the Sabres in Calgary. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
4

BUFFALO – When the Sabres began their first post-NHL All-Star break practice Monday afternoon, Nikita Zadorov was absent.

Where was the 19-year-old defenseman? Apparently, stuck in the Dominican Republic.

The Sabres announced at 2:41 p.m. Monday they had suspended Zadorov after he failed to report back to the team on time following the break.

“What can you do?” coach Ted Nolan said after the Sabres practiced without Zadorov inside HarborCenter. “The travel conditions sometimes get in the way. That’s how it is.”

In a …

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Nikita Zadorov sat much of October. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Sabres suspended Nikita Zadorov today after the 19-year-old defenseman failed to report back to the team on time following the NHL All-Star break.

“What can you do?” coach Ted Nolan said this afternoon after the Sabres practiced without Zadorov inside HarborCenter. “The travel conditions sometimes get in the way. That’s how it is.”

In a statement, general manager Tim Murray said Zadorov would join the team on its trip out west. Nolan wasn’t sure about the length of the …

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Nikita Zadorov was late reporting back to the Sabres. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Sabres suspended Nikita Zadorov today after the 19-year-old defenseman failed to report back to the team on time following the NHL All-Star break.

Zadorov isn’t on the ice this afternoon practicing at HarborCenter.

“We anticipate Nikita joining the team at some point during this week’s western road trip,” Sabres general manager Tim Murray said in a statement.

In other news, the Sabres have recalled goalie Matt Hackett from Rochester because Michal Neuvirth suffered a lower-body injury working out during the …

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Zemgus Girgensons left Latvia in 2009 to play junior hockey in Vermont. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Five years later, the Christmas cards Jim Hall sends out each year feature photos of his three children and someone so close he calls him another family member, Sabres center Zemgus Girgensons.

“Z’s been on our Christmas card we send out ever since he’s lived with us,” said Hall, Girgensons’ billet during the 2009-10 season.

Before he became an NHL All-Star and a household name in Buffalo, Girgensons spent his first year in North America playing junior hockey in Vermont …

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Tom McCollum won his first NHL game Sunday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Tom McCollum’s career was heading down the minor-league journeyman’s path, going nowhere fast.

Three years into professional hockey, the goalie was still shuttling between the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins and the ECHL Toledo Walleye. After his fourth season, the Detroit Red Wings declined to give him a two-way contract.

Instead, Detroit offered McCollum, the 30th pick in 2008, an AHL deal prior to the 2013-14 campaign. The Cambria native wasn’t even eligible for an NHL recall.

That made Sunday’s 46-minute relief …

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Matt Ellis played four games during his recall. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Sabres sent centers Matt Ellis and Phil Varone back to Rochester this morning.

Ellis was pointless in his first four NHL games this season. Varone, meanwhile, had two goals and two points in seven games.

Both are alternate captains for the AHL Americans.

In other news, Sabres prospect Mikhail Grigorenko has been named AHL Player of the Week after scoring three goals and seven points in three games, helping the Amerks rally for two wins.

The 20-year-old center has 10 goals …

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