Trade deadline approaching

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Nashville Predators

Sabres goalie Michal Neuvirth watches the puck Sunday with Nashville's Michael Santorello close by. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – If the Sabres tab Michal Neuvirth as their No. 1 goalie and re-sign the 26-year-old Czech in the coming months, remember his 37-save performance in Sunday’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Nashville Predators.

In his fifth straight start, Neuvirth dazzled again, keeping the Sabres in a contest in which they only five mustered five shots through 30 minutes and 17 in 65 minutes.

Neuvirth helped the NHL’s worst team nearly upset the league-leading Predators. Tyler Ennis scored his team-leading 15th …

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Jake McCabe made his NHL season debut Sunday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Sabres coach Ted Nolan offered no details about Nikita Zadorov’s benching Sunday, only saying the defenseman was getting scratched for violating team rules, another episode in the 19-year-old’s turbulent rookie season.

“We had a number of discussions, and another thing happened this morning,” Nolan said prior to the Sabres’ 2-1 shootout loss to the Nashville Predators inside the First Niagara Center. “We’ll talk to him again.”

The Sabres needed Zadorov badly against the NHL’s best team. Three defensemen are ailing.

Josh …

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Nikita Zadorov was suspended last month. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Nikita Zadorov will be scratched for tonight’s game against the Nashville Predators for “team reasons,” coach Ted Nolan said this morning.

The 19-year-old Zadorov, whose maturity has been a problem all season, was suspended last month for missing his flight back to Buffalo following the NHL All-Star break.

“It’s just part of the growing process,” Nolan said inside the First Niagara Center. “We’ll just have to deal with him. He’s a 19-year-old. Sometimes you’re mature in certain things, …

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The Sabres introduced Evander Kane on Saturday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – For almost 13 minutes, Evander Kane smoothly answered questions about his turbulent past with the Winnipeg Jets and the future that could be special for the 23-year-old winger following his recent acquisition by the Sabres.

Wearing jeans, a Sabres hoody with his No. 9 and a sling around his surgically repaired left shoulder, an upbeat Kane sounded relieved to be out of Winnipeg, a city he calls a “fishbowl.”

“Let’s just put it this way, I think I’m definitely excited …

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Nashville's Paul Gaustad fights Zenon Konopka on Tuesday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – Three straight losses. Two total goals. One team searching for confidence.

The rebuilding Sabres have become a mess again without the veterans they traded before the NHL’s trade deadline.

“We have what we have,” interim Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. “We got to work through it. We got to get better.”

In Tuesday’s boring 4-1 loss inside the First Niagara Center, they generated little against the Nashville Predators, sprinkling only 24 shots on goals.

“Their confidence is a little bit rattled right …

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Chris Stewart has played two games with the Sabres. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – In his second appearance Thursday, winger Chris Stewart wowed interim coach Ted Nolan, adding some much-needed size and grit to the Sabres.

But Stewart collided with Tampa Bay goalie Anders Lindback late in the Sabres’ 3-1 win, injuring his right ankle.

The 26-year-old’s season is likely over, Nolan said.

“Stewart doesn’t look good right now,” he said this morning inside the First Niagara Center. “There’s only five weeks left in the year. I think his injury is four or five weeks. …

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Drew Stafford (right) batttles Chicago's Jonathan Toews on Sunday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – About 15 Sabres gathered at a Tampa Bay restaurant Wednesday and nervously watched TSN’s coverage of the NHL trade deadline, unsure what their futures held.

“It was definitely a little stressful, a little anxiety involved,” said Sabres winger Drew Stafford, one veteran rumored to be on the block.

Stomachs churned and filled with butterflies staring at the screen. Everything can change in an instant.

“You’re watching and you’re seeing these guys on this panel that are basically announcing a tremendous change …

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Ted Nolan could become the Sabres' permanent coach soon. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Ted Nolan should be returning to the Sabres next season.

The interim coach said Monday his representative is handling a new contract with Sabres general manager Tim Murray.

“I guess he and Tim will be talking soon if (they haven’t) talked already,” Nolan said inside the First Niagara Center after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s game against the Nashville Predators. “It’s formalities and getting things ironed out and doing all the legal stuff. … We’ll leave it in their hands …

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The Sabres selected Paul Gaustad 220nd overall in 2000. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – If it meant getting better in the future, Darcy Regier said the Sabres would take a minor step back at the NHL trade deadline. Sixty-two games into the season, the Stanley Cup talk for the 12th-place club has ceased. Monday was about utilizing assets and filling a glaring need for a scoring center.

Clearly, the general manager had a plan to fix his underachieving team, which was six points out of eighth place at the deadline.

In a seller’s market, …

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