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Andrej Sekera (4) and Nathan Gerbe left the Sabres after last season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – At first, Nathan Gerbe said, he didn’t understand why the Sabres waived and bought him out in early July. The diminutive winger had no inkling they had given up on him after five seasons.

“I didn’t know it was coming, that’s for sure,” Gerbe said Thursday prior to the Carolina Hurricanes’ 5-3 win inside the First Niagara Center. “No one spoke to me about it. So I think you get a little shocked. But it’s a business and you …

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Phil Varone should make his NHL debut tonight. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The thinking was the Sabres, with eight defensemen at their disposal, would likely send one to Rochester.

Sure enough, they assigned rookie Brayden McNabb to the AHL with forward Kevin Porter, who’s finally healthy after getting hit into the boards Dec. 21.

But in a surprising move, the Sabres also recalled a youngster Wednesday afternoon, center Phil Varone, the Americans’ leading scorer. The 23-year-old prospect will likely play tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes inside the First Niagara Center.

Varone has never …

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Phil Varone is Rochester's leading scorer. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres have recalled center Phil Varone, Rochester’s leading scorer, according to the Democrat and Chronicle’s Kevin Oklobzija.

The 23-year-old Varone has never played in the NHL or even in an exhibition contest. But he’s impressed this season in the AHL, compiling eight goals and 33 points in 38 games with the Americans.

The Sabres inked Varone two years ago after San Jose, which selected him 147th overall in 2009, didn’t sign him. His 52 points topped the Amerks in …

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Zenon Konopka (24) was whistled for interfering with Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky on Saturday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Sabres center Zenon Konopka said he had spoken to interim coach Ted Nolan twice about his knack for picking up goaltender interference penalties.

“I made a conscious effort,” Konopka said Monday after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s contest against the Florida Panthers inside the First Niagara Center.

Still, Konopka, who had two calls early last week, earned a third Saturday, which led to Brandon Dubinsky’s go-ahead power-play goal in Columbus’ 4-3 shootout win.

Three strikes and you’re likely out of the …

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Linus Omark has sat two games. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Interim coach Ted Nolan, whose Sabres have lost three straight, will likely use a different lineup Tuesday against Florida.

Center Zenon Konopka, who took three goaltender interference penalties in four games last week, will sit. Winger Linus Omark, who practiced today beside Cody Hodgson and Steve Ott, will likely return after two healthy scratches.

Nolan wouldn’t confirm Omark will play against the Panthers.

“We’ll give it another day to think about,” Nolan said today following practice inside the First Niagara Center.

In …

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Matt D'Agostini was injured Wednesday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Sabres winger Matt D’Agostini, who left Wednesday’s 4-3 shootout loss in Toronto early, is “still out for a while,” Ted Nolan said.

“I’m too not sure exactly how long,” the interim coach said this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center. “But it’s not going to be long, long term. But it’s going to be at least a week or so, I believe.”

Reinforcements could be coming soon, however.

Three injured Sabres – forwards Cody McCormick (hand) and Kevin Porter (lower body) …

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Drew Stafford hasn't played since Jan. 2. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Interim Sabres coach Ted Nolan spoke bluntly Monday about 19-year-old prospect Mikhail Grigorenko, who refused an assignment to junior Saturday before accepting it a day later.

“We can’t control what people do and what they say, but we can certainly control how we’re going to run this organization and what we feel is necessary for the development of young players,” Nolan said after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers inside the First Niagara Center. “The …

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Mikhail Grigorenko changed his mind Sunday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Interim coach Ted Nolan spoke bluntly today about prospect Mikhail Grigorenko, who initially refused the Sabres’ assignment to junior before accepting it late Sunday.

“We can’t control what people do and what they say, but we can certainly control how we’re going to run this organization and what we feel is necessary for the development of young players,” Nolan said following practice inside the First Niagara Center. “The tail can’t wag the dog; the dog wags the tail.

“We feel …

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Tyler Myers can't play until next Tuesday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – On Monday, hours before the NHL suspended Tyler Myers three games for an illegal check to Dainius Zubrus’ head, the Sabres defenseman said his hulking stature wouldn’t make him change his aggressive style.

“I don’t want to change my game just because of how tall I am,” the 6-foot-8 Myers said after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes inside the First Niagara Center. “It’s just something that comes with the territory.”

Still, Myers better start exercising …

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Mikhail Grigorenko just played seven games with Russian at the world junior championship. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Fresh off a five-goal, eight-point performance in seven games with Russia at the world junior championship, center Mikhail Grigorenko will be rejoining the Sabres soon.

But will the 19-year-old stick in the NHL or go somewhere else?

“He’s coming here for Pat (LaFontaine) and I to discuss,” interim Sabres coach Ted Nolan said following practice today inside the First Niagara Center. “We’ll make that decision when he gets here.”

Nolan, however, acknowledged he would prefer to have Grigorenko develop outside the …

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