Congratulations, Dominik

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Hodgson

Philadelphia's R.J. Umberger deflects the puck past Sabres goalie Michal Neuvirth on Saturday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – If you’re a glass-is-half-full type, the Sabres did some good things in Saturday’s 4-3 defeat to a weak Philadelphia Flyers team, their 10th consecutive regulation loss.

For the first time in weeks, the Sabres started strongly and showcased a better effort early, taking the lead and dictating much of the play. When the Flyers went up 2-1, they tied it late in the second period. They even scored three goals for the first time in 10 games.

If you’re a …

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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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Michal Neuvirth will receive a rare start tonight. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – As injuries recently weakened his defense corps, Sabres coach Ted Nolan spread out the wealth a bit, breaking up Rasmus Ristolainen, 20, and Nikita Zadorov, 19, arguably his best tandem.

“Our defense corps was a little bit in disarray for a while, and those two were probably our two shining lights,” Nolan said this morning inside the First Niagara Center.

The struggling Sabres desperately need another strong defense pair, so with Ristolainen back from the flu, the youngsters will be …

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Rasmus Ristolainen has missed two games. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – While the top line remained intact, Sabres coach Ted Nolan rearranged his other three trios today, an attempt to jumpstart the struggling team.

The new lines, left to right: Brian Flynn beside Mikhail Grigorenko and Chris Stewart; Cody Hodgson with Cody McCormick and Drew Stafford; Nick Deslauriers beside Johan Larsson and Patrick Kaleta.

Injuries and illness have ravaged the Sabres recently. They haven’t had a second line with Marcus Foligno and Brian Gionta sidelined.

“If you looked at our last seven …

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Mikhail Grigorenko played his second NHL game this season Saturday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Mikhail Grigorenko knew the Sabres were short one forward and had the Colorado Avalanche, a team led by Hall of Fame goalie Patrick Roy, his former junior coach, coming up on the schedule.

Grigorenko, who played in Tuesday’s 5-1 loss in Winnipeg before going back to Rochester, wanted to get recalled again badly. To his relief, the Sabres summoned the Russian again Saturday morning.

“I was hoping I would get called up, especially that game against Colorado against Patrick,” Grigorenko …

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Mikhail Grigorenko has played one NHL game this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Mikhail Grigorenko knew the Sabres were short one forward and had the Colorado Avalanche, a team led by legendary goalie Patrick Roy, his former junior coach, coming up on the schedule.

Grigorenko, who played in Tuesday’s 5-1 loss in Winnipeg before getting returned to Rochester, wanted to get recalled again badly.

“I was hoping I would get called up, especially that game against Colorado against Patrick,” Grigorenko said this morning inside the First Niagara Center. “I saw him … at …

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Canisius College players skate at HarborCenter recently. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Instead of dressing at the First Niagara Center and busing to the Riverside Ice Rink or another local facility Thursday, the Sabres simply put on their sandals or sneakers and walked across the street in their uniforms to HarborCenter, the new $170 million facility that opened earlier this fall.

Practicing outside the First Niagara Center is no longer a hassle. Naturally, the Sabres’ first session inside the sparkling facility had a huge “wow” factor.

“It’s beautiful,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan …

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HarborCenter impressed Drew Stafford. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Instead of dressing at the First Niagara Center and busing to the Riverside Ice Rink or another local facility today, the Sabres simply put on their sandals or sneakers and walked across the street to HarborCenter, the new $170 million facility that opened earlier this fall.

Practicing outside the First Niagara Center is no longer a hassle. Naturally, the Sabres’ first session inside the sparkling facility had a huge “wow” factor.

“It’s beautiful,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said inside HarborCenter. …

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Patrick Kaleta recorded his first assist this season Saturday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Yes, 30 games into the season, the Sabres still possess the NHL’s worst offense. At their current pace, they would score 142 goals, eight fewer than last year, when they set the NHL’s all-time low mark for a full campaign.

But the Sabres’ offense is no longer feeble. At times, it can even be downright dangerous.

Thirty of the Sabres’ 52 goals have come in the last 12 games, a stretch in which they’re 9-3.

They have eight goals in their …

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Nikita Zadorov scored his second NHL goal Saturday. ©2014, Janet Schultz, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – For much of the Sabres’ exciting 4-3 overtime victory against the Florida Panthers on Saturday, the young defense tandem of Rasmus Ristolainen, 20, and Nikita Zadorov, 19, struggled badly.

Up 2-0 early in the second period, Ristolainen coughed up the puck and the Panthers scored off of Zadorov’s skate. They tied it minutes later with the youngsters on the ice again.

“You don’t belittle, and you don’t blame them,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. “You nurture them.”

Zadorov made amends, scoring …

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