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Rochester Americans

Mark Pysyk took some hits Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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ROCHESTER – For Buffalo Sabres defense prospect Mark Pysyk, taking a couple big hits in the Americans’ 3-2 loss to the Utica Comets on Friday felt good.

“I got back up, nothing happened. That’s a good feeling,” Pysyk said following his return to game action after collapsing during a pickup basketball game Feb. 28 inside the Blue Cross War Memorial. “That’s good for the confidence.”

The Sabres told Pysyk, who suffered a seizure related to dehydration after playing two games with Buffalo, …

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Brian Gionta liked playing for Ted Nolan. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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ROCHESTER – During a trying season in which the Buffalo Sabres lost 59 times and finished 30th overall, former coach Ted Nolan, who was fired Sunday, made it “good on the guys,” captain Brian Gionta said.

Still, Gionta understands when a team finishes last, the coach is the first to fall.

“Obviously, it’s tough,” Gionta said Friday as the Americans, the Sabres’ AHL affiliate, played the Utica Comets. “We love Teddy. Teddy’s a great guy. He was great in the room, did …

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Cody Hodgson scored only six goals in 2014-15. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Nothing could ignite Sabres enigma Cody Hodgson. Not moving from wing to center and back. Not switching lines. Not getting scratched.

In the worst season by a Sabres forward not named Ville Leino in recent memory, Hodgson mustered only six goals and 13 points in 78 games, a stunning 14-goal, 31-point drop in six more appearances.

Hodgson scored one goal in a 47-game stretch from Oct. 28 to Feb. 22. He endured goal droughts of 27 and 19 games and …

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Nikita Zadorov's rookie season was rough at times. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – Tim Murray called his end-of-season meeting with 19-year-old Sabres rookie Nikita Zadorov, whose maturity was an issue all year, an “interview.” In reality, the general manager’s chat with the defenseman was probably more of a lecture.

“A big part of … our talk today was me putting the onus on him to grow, to get better to get fitter and become a man,” Murray said Sunday inside the First Niagara Center. “We’ll see how that goes.”

Zadorov, the No. 16 …

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Tim Murray speaks Sunday after firing Ted Nolan. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – For the first time since the Sabres replaced Ted Nolan following his initial run almost 18 years ago, the team must search for a new coach.

Yes, it has really been that long.

Lindy Ruff, Nolan’s replacement in 1997, lasted until 2013, when former Sabres general manager Darcy Regier quickly promoted Ron Rolston from Rochester as interim coach. Regier removed the interim tag following the season without interviewing anyone.

Nolan immediately took over as interim coach when owner Terry Pegula fired …

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Patrick Kaleta had another injury-filled season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Following the end of another injury-filled season in which he played only 42 games, Sabres winger Patrick Kaleta received some good news.

“I passed my physical for the first time in five years, so that was a positive this morning,” Kaleta said Sunday as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers inside the First Niagara Center.

That’s how banged up the passionate Kaleta has been over the years.

This season, a year after tearing his ACL, the Angola native broke his face …

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Josh Gorges' season ended Feb. 10. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – The mindset of a player at the start of the season is never focused on building for the next one, Sabres defenseman Josh Gorges said.

“You come in with a mindset of we’re going to win, we’re going to try to win,” the veteran said this morning as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers following a 30th-place finish. “As players, our job is not to play for the future and play for development of players. It’s just to compete …

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Johan Larsson (22) battles Pittsburgh's Rob Scuderi on Saturday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Three months ago, when the Sabres seemingly banished Johan Larsson to the minors, the 22-year-old’s future here seemed iffy.

Upon arriving in Rochester, Larsson complained about playing on the fourth line with the Sabres, something that angered coach Ted Nolan, who basically told Larsson to shut his mouth.

At that point, Larsson had one goal and six points in 41 NHL games.

Larsson entered Saturday’s season finale against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a 2-0 loss inside the First Niagara Center, as the …

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Sam Reinhart was assigned to Rochester on Thursday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Top Sabres prospect Sam Reinhart’s AHL debut with the Rochester Americans is in on hold.

The 19-year-old center, the No. 2 pick in June, has a nagging injury and will likely play for the team in one week, according to WHTK’s Rob Sanderson. It was expected Reinhart would play tonight when the Amerks host Toronto.

The Sabres assigned Reinhart to Rochester on Thursday, three days after his junior season ended.

In other news, the Sabres have recalled defenseman Chad Ruhwedel from …

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Sam Reinhart should join Rochester soon. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Expect the Sabres’ final two games this season – Friday’s road tilt in Columbus and Saturday’s finale against Pittsburgh – to be slightly more intense than Monday’s 4-3 home win against Carolina, a drab affair.

The Blue Jackets, having won nine straight games recently, are scorching. The Penguins might need the game to make the playoffs.

“Carolina’s out, we’re out,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. “When you have two out, it’s tougher. But you have one team going in, you …

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