Zemgus Girgensons, NHL All-Star

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Ellis

Nikita Zadorov sat much of October. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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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
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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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Matt Ellis played four games during his recall. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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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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Phil Varone only played sparingly Saturday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – In a deep rebuild, with losses and injuries piling up, plenty of jobs on the Sabres are still available.

Heck, the Sabres have had openings throughout the lineup for two years. Sooner or later, someone – a top prospect, an unknown youngster, a waiver acquisition or a depth veteran – has to step up and grab one, right?

Sabres coach Ted Nolan wants the newcomers do something different, stand out and make a case to stay. So far, no one …

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Mike Weber had knee surgery last month. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – How bad are the Sabres early in games? Really bad.

Opponents have outscored the struggling Sabres 40-15 in the first period and outshot them 493-336 entering tonight’s tilt against the Philadelphia Flyers inside the First Niagara Center. In Thursday’s 7-0 loss to Minnesota, the Wild scored twice and outshot the Sabres 15-3 in the opening period.

“We talk about that all the time going into games, we have to have good starts, let’s throw some pucks at the net,” said …

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Ted Nolan knows the Sabres are too soft. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres have lost a franchise-record nine consecutive games and 31 of 45 this season. They rank 29th overall and dead last or close to the bottom in every major statistical category. They just lost 7-0 to a reeling Minnesota Wild team, their worst home defeat since 1977.

Of course, the Sabres were supposed to lose this season. But was the rebuilding club supposed to lose so badly this often? Opponents have outscored them 39-9 during their skid.

Very few …

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Dominik Hasek (right) is greeted by Rene Robert (14) and Danny Gare (18) prior to having his number retired Tuesday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Goalie Dominik Hasek had never picked his own number before the Sabres acquired him in 1992.

Back home in the Czech Republic, he was given No. 9 as a 16-year-old when a player got sick. When he came to North America in 1990, the Chicago Blackhawks gave him Nos. 31 and 34.

So shortly after he arrived, Hasek was shocked when equipment manager Rip Simonick approached him at a late-summer workout at Sabreland in Wheatfield.

“I still remember, it was my …

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Dominik Hasek speaks to the media this morning. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Legendary Sabres goalie Dominik Hasek had never chosen his own number.

Back home in the Czech Republic, he was given No. 9 as a 16-year-old when a player got sick. When he came to North America in 1990, the Chicago Blackhawks gave him Nos. 31 and 34.

So shortly after the Sabres acquired him in 1992, Hasek was shocked when equipment manager Rip Simonick approached him at a late-summer workout at Sabreland in Wheatfield.

“I still remember, it was my first …

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Cody McCormick had a blood clot. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Sabres forward Cody McCormick was released from the hospital Monday after being treated for a blood clot in his calf muscle, coach Ted Nolan said.

“Cross our fingers everything continues to go well,” Nolan said following an 80-minute practice inside the First Niagara Center. “No timeframe on his return whatsoever. Our No. 1 concern is making sure he’s OK.”

With McCormick sidelined, the Sabres recalled centers Zac Dalpe and Phil Varone from Rochester early Monday.

Nolan said since winger Chris Stewart …

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Ted Nolan coached the first game in the First Niagara Center almost 18 years ago. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Whether you’ve been in the NHL for 50 years or this is your first season, Sabres coach Ted Nolan said, “opening night’s always exciting.”

“Butterflies floating around like crazy,” Nolan said Wednesday after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s season opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets. “If it doesn’t happen, something’s going to be wrong.”

Tonight will be extra special for Nolan, who’s beginning his first full season as Sabres coach since 1996-97. He hasn’t coached an NHL team on opening …

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