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John Scott played two seasons with the Sabres. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – John Scott was scratched again Tuesday, the 15th time in 21 games the hulking San Jose Sharks tough guy has watched this season.

Scott understands his role means he must sit out regularly. Still, the popular former Sabres fighter wanted to play badly in his return to the First Niagara Center.

“It’s always fun to come back,” Scott said prior to the Sabres’ 4-1 win. “I wish I was playing tonight. I could get into a fight, show them what …

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Nikita Zadorov will play his ninth game tonight. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – So, Sabres defenseman Nikita Zadorov, how did it feel to hear coach Ted Nolan say you have earned a roster spot?

“Did he say that?” Zadorov said this morning inside the First Niagara Center. “I didn’t know that.”

Assuming the game is played, the 19-year-old will make his ninth appearance tonight. His contract kicks in with a 10th.

Nolan said Monday he was “more than positive he’s earned his keep,” meaning Zadorov has a place on the team.

“That’s great,” Zadorov said. …

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Connor Knapp made 22 saves Sunday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – On March 15, more than 4,000 miles from Buffalo, Sabres goalie Connor Knapp stopped 24 shots in the Alaska Aces’ 4-2 win against the Colorado Eagles in Anchorage.

Twenty-nine days later, Knapp, the sixth goalie on the organization’s depth chart, made his first NHL start in the Sabres’ 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Islanders.

Knapp grew up in York, a small town about 30 miles from Rochester.

“It’s crazy,” the 23-year-old told a throng of cameras and reporters after …

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John Scott and his teammates have endured a lot this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

Mercifully, 193 days after it started, the most tumultuous season in Buffalo Sabres history will end around 7:30 p.m. Sunday inside the First Niagara Center.

The finale can’t come quickly enough for the reeling Sabres, losers of six straight games and 17 of their last 19.

In a season filled with turmoil, the Sabres endured arguably their roughest game this afternoon in Boston, losing five more players to injury, including goalie Matt Hackett, in the 4-1 setback to the Bruins.

Eleven players are …

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John Scott has played a career-high 54 games this season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – John Scott understands you can’t always change your reputation in a few months. The Sabres tough guy believes anti-fighting fans might always consider him a goon.

“I guess the people who have that in their mind they don’t really look at me as a hockey player ever,” Scott said Wednesday inside the First Niagara Center. “So it doesn’t really matter what I do. But I like to think I changed peoples’ minds out there. You hope so.”

Scott hopes fighting …

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Tim Murray has been talking with NHL officials. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Sabres general manager Tim Murray recently asked coach Ted Nolan to tell him everything that was happening.

Why?

“Because we’re going to complain about it,” Murray told Nolan.

The Sabres are angry the NHL only suspended Flyers agitator Zac Rinaldo four games for elbowing defenseman Chad Ruhwedel in the head late in Sunday’s 5-2 loss in Philadelphia.

Ruhwedel is home recovering from a concussion and out indefinitely. Rinaldo, meanwhile, can play again next week.

Nolan said Murray “has probably made a number of …

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Ted Nolan wants head hits out of the game. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – About three games ago, Sabres general manager Tim Murray told coach Ted Nolan to tell him everything that was happening.

“Because we’re going to complain about it,” Murray said.

The Sabres are clearly angry Flyers agitator Zac Rinaldo only received a four-game suspension for elbowing defenseman Chad Ruhwedel in the head late in Sunday’s 5-2 loss in Philadelphia.

Ruhwedel is home recovering from a concussion. Rinaldo, meanwhile, can play again next week.

Nolan said Murray “has probably made a number of calls …

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Ville Leino fires his shootout-clinching goal past New Jersey goalie Cory Schneider on Tuesday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Nine rounds into Tuesday’s shootout, Sabres coach Ted Nolan turned to John Scott on the bench.

“Watch the crowd go crazy on this one,” Nolan told the winger after sending out Ville Leino, the fans’ No. 1 whipping boy, with a chance to win the game.

Sure enough, instead of booing Leino, who has zero goals in 53 games this season, the capacity crowd of 19,070 fans inside the First Niagara Center cheered wildly.

Leino zoomed in and wired a shot …

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Jhonas Enroth will play most of the games down the stretch. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Ryan Miller is gone. Jaroslav Halak, the goalie the Sabres received in Friday’s blockbuster trade with the St. Louis Blues, will be an unrestricted free agent following the season. He could be dealt within days.

For now, Jhonas Enroth, Miller’s backup for three seasons, will shoulder the load down the stretch, interim Sabres coach Ted Nolan said.

The 25-year-old Swede finally has an opportunity to become a No. 1 goalie.

“If you don’t call this a chance, then I don’t know …

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Christian Ehrhoff has played three seasons with the Sabres. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – With the NHL trade deadline five days away and rumors swirling, interim Sabres coach Ted Nolan has started greeting captain Steve Ott in a special way.

“You don’t want to make light of it, but every day I walk in and say, ‘Steve, you still here?’” Nolan joked this morning inside the First Niagara Center. “I talked to Tyler Myers on the ice today. His name popped up in the newspapers yesterday. I told him maybe it’s a compliment …

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