Best wishes to RJ

Nikita Zadorov has played one game this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – With Sam Reinhart sent back to junior today, Sabres general manager Tim Murray can concentrate on another teenage prospect, defenseman Nikita Zadorov.

“I don’t want to start juggling five balls,” Murray said this morning inside the First Niagara Center.

The Sabres have essentially been stashing Zadorov on their roster until they find a place for him to play. The 19-year-old has played only one of the first 11 games.

Since Zadorov doesn’t have a release from his Russian team, the Sabres …

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Sam Reinhart dominated junior hockey for two seasons. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – When general manager Tim Murray told Sam Reinhart, his top prospect, the Sabres would be sending him back to junior, the 18-year-old handled the difficult news well.

But a few minutes later, the disappointment of leaving the First Niagara Center to begin his long trip back to the Kootenay Ice overwhelmed Reinhart.

“He was emotional,” Murray said this morning. “I guess he was emotional walking out of the rink.”

Murray understands Reinhart’s reaction. The No. 2 pick in June spent more …

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Sam Reinhart had one assist in nine games. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres assigned center Sam Reinhart, the No. 2 pick in June, to the Western Hockey League’s Kootenay Ice this morning.

The 18-year-old struggled in the NHL, compiling zero goals, one point, three shots, two penalty minutes and a minus-1 rating in nine games. A 10th appearance would have activated his contract.

Reinhart skated a game-low seven minutes, 45 seconds in Thursday’s 3-2 overtime loss to Boston.

Stay tuned for more updates.

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Boston's David Krejci is sandwiched between the Sabres' Tyler Myers (57) and Cody McCormick (8). ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – For about 18 minutes of Thursday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Boston Bruins, it appeared the reeling Sabres would steal a win from a superior opponent.

Yes, the Bruins kept pumping shots on goalie Jhonas Enroth, but the Sabres limited their prime scoring chances. The Sabres’ anemic offense, meanwhile, scored two goals for only the fourth time this season, helping them take a rare lead.

Their first regulation win inside the First Niagara Center since Feb. 28 was within grasp.

Then, …

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Mikhail Grigorenko has four goals this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Sabres prospect Mikhail Grigorenko needed some time to adjust. Getting demoted to the AHL wasn’t easy. The 20-year-center impressed during the NHL training camp, igniting speculation he could earn a roster spot.

But the rebuilding Sabres wanted the slick Russian to develop in Rochester, where he could receive loads of ice time, so they assigned him to the Americans on Oct. 6.

“It was probably tough a few days,” Grigorenko said Wednesday about acclimating to the AHL again. “It’s a …

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Sam Reinhart has one assist in eight games. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Expect a decision on rookie Sam Reinhart’s future soon, possibly as soon as Friday. The Sabres center will play his ninth game tonight. His contract kicks in if he makes a 10th appearance.

Sabres coach Ted Nolan and general manager Tim Murray discussed the 18-year-old’s future this morning and plan to talk again following tonight’s contest against the Boston Bruins.

“I’m quite sure we batted around every idea there was for the situation,” Nolan said this morning inside the First …

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Brian Gionta has zero goals this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The anger was evident throughout the Sabres’ tense 90-minute practice Wednesday inside the First Niagara Center.

At one point, coach Ted Nolan, whose reeling 2-8 team was demolished 4-0 in Toronto hours earlier, yelled, “Wake the (expletive) up!” Players exchanged words and shouted in frustration. Captain Brian Gionta banged his stick on the glass and demolished it on the bench.

Nolan said the “10-game grace period” he gives his team each season has ended.

“You give them a little bit of …

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Cody Hodgson has one goal this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Make no mistake, Cody Hodgson, the Sabres’ leading scorer last season, is the new right winger on the fourth line beside center Sam Reinhart and Nick Deslauriers.

“Yeah, he’s on the fourth line,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said curtly this afternoon.

Hodgson could be moved to the press box next.

“He’s pretty close there, too,” Nolan said.

Hodgson, like just about every Sabres forward, has struggled this season, compiling one goal, two points and a minus-7 rating in 10 contests.

The 24-year-old said …

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Ted Nolan has lost his patience. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
8

BUFFALO – The anger was visible today throughout the Sabres’ tense 90-minute practice inside the First Niagara Center.

At one point, coach Ted Nolan, whose 2-8 team was demolished 4-0 in Toronto on Tuesday, yelled, “Wake the (expletive) up!” Players exchanged words and yelled out in frustration. Captain Brian Gionta banged his stick on the glass and demolished it on the bench.

Nolan said he gives his teams a “10-game grace period” to start to a season.

“You give them a little bit …

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Michal Neuvirth kept the Sabres in Tuesday's game. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

TORONTO – It turns out that nice win three days earlier was an anomaly. The hapless Buffalo Sabres reverted back into a laughingstock in Tuesday’s embarrassing 4-0 loss to the Maple Leafs, getting thoroughly dominated throughout their eighth loss in 10 tries this season.

How ugly was Buffalo’s effort?

The Sabres, three weeks into their 44th season, sprinkled a franchise-low 10 shots on Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier. The Leafs, meanwhile, pumped 37 shots on Sabres netminder Michal Neuvirth.

“I don’t know who we …

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