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Foligno

Chris Stewart (80) balances the puck on his blade in front of Ottawa's Erik Karlsson on Tuesday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres have played 165 periods this trying season. Most, given their 15-36-3 record and 30th overall standing, have been poor or even awful.

In the opening period of Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators, the Sabres, fresh of a pathetic 10-shot outing, performed terribly again, getting outscored 1-0 and outshot 14-8.

Early on, some fans in the announced sellout crowd of 19,070 inside the First Niagara Center responded to each Sabres shot with a mild Bronx cheer.

“I just …

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Cody McCormick blocked a shot Jan. 3. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – On Jan. 3 in New York, gritty Sabres forward Cody McCormick blocked a shot, something he has done 126 times in his career.

This time, however, the pain felt different. It lingered.

Something was wrong.

“I had pain in my calf after for no real reason,” McCormick told the Times Herald during the first intermission of Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders inside First Niagara Center.

McCormick didn’t know it then, but he had developed blood clots that would spread …

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Sabres goalie Michal Neuvirth upends the New York Islanders' Matt Martin on Sunday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Even by Sabres standards, it was ugly. Almost 32 minutes into Sunday’s 3-2 loss, the New York Islanders led by three goals. The Sabres, meanwhile, had five shots total and zero in the second period to that point.

Then, like so many other times this season, they got going. After Sabres coach Ted Nolan called a timeout, Marcus Foligno buried Nikita Zadorov’s rebound.

Just like that, the Sabres had two shots in about two seconds.

Drew Stafford scored a couple of …

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Cody Hodgson has only two goals all season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Some nights, Ted Nolan said, he lies awake in bed wondering how he can fix Cody Hodgson, his struggling winger. Right now, the Sabres coach and his staff can’t get through to the 24-year-old, who might be enduring the worst season of any NHL forward.

Nolan scratched Hodgson, who has two goals and eight points in 51 games this season, for Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders, the third time he has been benched this season. Marcus …

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Cody Hodgson nearly scores on Philadelphia goalie Rob Zepp last month. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Struggling Sabres winger Cody Hodgson, who has two goals and eight points in 51 games this season, will be a healthy scratch again this afternoon against the New York Islanders.

Sabres coach Ted Nolan seems to have run out of ways to reach Hodgson, who was scratched Jan. 30 in Vancouver against the Canucks, his former team. This will be the third time he has sat.

“I don’t believe anybody’s a lost cause,” Nolan said this afternoon inside the First …

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Jason Spezza joined Dallas in the summer. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Right away, Lindy Ruff and Jason Spezza buried the hatchet. For years, as Ruff coached the Sabres and Spezza starred for the Ottawa Senators, the two were adversaries.

At the height of the fierce post-lockout Sabres-Senators rivalry, Ruff sent Adam Mair on the ice to jump Spezza, a move that helped ignite the infamous 2007 brawl between the teams after Chris Neil leveled Sabres co-captain Chris Drury.

Spezza, who was dealt to Ruff’s Dallas Stars on July 1, brought up …

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©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres will make one lineup change tonight against the Dallas Stars, inserting 19-year-old defenseman Nikita Zadorov for Andre Benoit.

Zadorov has struggled in recent weeks, becoming a healthy scratch after earning regular duty throughout November and December.

What does Sabres coach Ted Nolan want to see from the Russian?

“With a young defenseman, you just want to make sure you grab those young mistakes real quick, want to make sure they don’t become habit, because we’re all creatures of habit,” …

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Steve Ott played two seasons in Buffalo. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – They’re still all over town. Go to a Sabres game, walk around the mall or do some grocery shopping, and you’ll inevitably see someone wearing a No. 9 Steve Ott Sabres jersey.

“Must’ve been on sale when I got traded or something,” Ott joked Thursday prior to the St. Louis Blues’ 3-0 win, his first game in Buffalo since the Sabres dealt him Feb. 28. “I don’t know. Maybe they were just giving them away when I got moved …

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Marcus Foligno (82) will miss his 18th straight game tonight. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Before Marcus Foligno broke his hand fighting Boston’s Matt Bartkowski on Dec. 21, the Sabres center was enjoying perhaps the best run of his young career.

Foligno had just been moved to the middle by Sabres coach Ted Nolan. He had a three-game goal streak during the team’s torrid run earlier in December.

Still, Foligno, who could return this weekend, doesn’t want a do-over. Bartkowski hit Sabres captain Brian Gionta high after Foligno dished him the puck, so a price …

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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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