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Pysyk

Nikita Zadorov (51) has been scratched all six games this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The complicated situation involving Sabres defenseman Nikita Zadorov, a healthy scratch all six games this season, could be resolved in the next 48 hours, the Russian’s agent said Sunday night.

The Sabres have essentially been stashing the 19-year-old prospect on their roster.

Here’s the issue: Zadorov, as a European, can’t be sent back to the London Knights, his junior team, because he doesn’t have a release from the Russian club that owns his rights. The Sabres don’t believe Zadorov’s ready …

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Sam Reinhart was selected No. 2 in June. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Naturally, Sabres center Sam Reinhart, the No. 2 pick in June, wants to play against Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad, the No. 1 pick, tonight.

The prospects don’t have much of a rivalry, though.

“Not the fact the fact that we’re one and two, it’s the fact that I know him very well,” Reinhart said this morning inside the First Niagara Center. “We’re pretty good friends.”

The two once roomed together at a Team Canada event. They also got to know …

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Patrick Kaleta practiced Thursday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Patrick Kaleta’s face was mangled.

“Broke a bunch of things in there,” the oft-injured Sabres winger said Thursday following practice inside the First Niagara Center.

Kaleta said doctors inserted three plates and 14 screws after a shot hit him in the face during a Sept. 28 preseason game in Toronto. The 28-year-old has experienced blurred vision and migraines.

Still, less than three weeks after the scary incident, the Angola native is on the road back to game action. He skated with …

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Patrick Kaleta was injured Sept. 28. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Patrick Kaleta’s face was mangled.

“Broke a bunch of things in there,” the oft-injured Sabres winger said this afternoon following practice inside the First Niagara Center.

Kaleta said doctors inserted three plates and 14 screws after a shot hit him in the face during a Sept. 28 preseason game in Toronto. The 28-year-old has experienced blurred vision and migraines.

Still, less than three weeks after the scary incident, the Angola native is on the road back to game action. He skated …

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Sam Reinhart will skate on the fourth line tonight. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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Three games into the season, Buffalo Sabres coach Ted Nolan is already overhauling his reeling team’s lineup.

– Defenseman Andrej Meszaros, a minus-6, will be benched tonight in Carolina for Tyson Strachan.

– Cody Hodgson, a winger from late last season through Monday’s ugly 5-1 loss to Anaheim, switched from the left side back to center this morning.

– Rookie center Sam Reinhart was dropped to the fourth line.

The 0-3 Sabres are already the NHL’s worst team.

“It’s mind-boggling to me when you don’t …

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Matt Moulson (26), Brian Gionta (12) and Josh Gorges (4) posed with their new letters this afternoon. ©2014, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – For the first time in years, the Sabres have stability in their leadership group.

Captains Brian Gionta and alternates Josh Gorges and Matt Moulson have a combined 12 years left on their contracts. Each veteran chose to join the rebuilding Sabres this offseason.

Ted Nolan, who’s beginning his first full season as Sabres coach since 1996-97, believes the trio will fill the leadership void he noticed late last season.

“Coming in, going in a new direction, I just thought new leadership, …

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Sam Reinhart can play nine games before his entry-level contract begins. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – This could just be a brief, low-risk experiment. The Sabres have nine regular-season games to evaluate top prospect Sam Reinhart before the slick center’s entry-level contract kicks in.

Might as well use the trial, right?

Right now, Reinhart, the No. 2 pick in June, has a roster spot. The 18-year-old will make his NHL debut in Thursday’s season opener, Sabres coach Ted Nolan said.

The Sabres also have 19-year-old defenseman Nikita Zadorov on the roster. They must make some moves to …

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Mike Weber's known for his strong character. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – In a hockey-crazed town, with social media at everyone’s fingertips, gritty Sabres defenseman Mike Weber felt the wrath of a disappointed fan base last season.

Weber accumulated a wretched minus-29 in 68 games during the tumultuous campaign, becoming the fans’ top whipping boy. They wanted the Pittsburgh native benched.

Still, despite the NHL’s 881st rating, Weber played every game over the final four months.

“A lot of people get to have a voice,” Weber said Thursday after the Sabres prepared for …

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Brian Gionta, a candidate to be captain, has worn an 'A' this preseason. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – How close is Ted Nolan to naming a new Sabres captain?

“Uh, real close,” the coach said this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center.

Don’t expect an announcement today, however.

“It hasn’t officially happened yet, but we all know who the leadership is going to be on this team,” he said. “We’ll officially sit down with people. We haven’t talked to anybody yet.”

The Sabres open the season one week from today.

In other news, defenseman Tyler Myers (maintenance day) missed today’s practice. …

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Andrej Meszaros has been playing big minutes. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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TORONTO – Coach Ted Nolan noticed a little smirk on Andrej Meszaros’ face following the defenseman’s recent Buffalo Sabres debut.

Meszaros had just skated a whopping 29 minutes, 39 seconds in Tuesday’s 2-0 win against Carolina. The minutes felt like a warm welcome.

“It felt pretty good,” Meszaros said last week.

Meszaros, 28, hadn’t played that much in a 60-minute game since May 6, 2011. Back then, the Slovak had just been named Philadelphia’s top defenseman.

Then injuries – back, shoulder, torn Achilles – …

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