Seven games left

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Zubrus

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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Tyler Myers just served a three-game suspension. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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TORONTO – Defenseman Tyler Myers’ absence was glaring during the waning minutes of Tuesday’s 4-3 home loss to Philadelphia. The Buffalo Sabres sorely needed a sturdy presence to calm the game down as the Flyers scored three times.

Myers, who returned from a three-game suspension in Wednesday’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Maple Leafs, had been showcasing a steady, aggressive game prior to his ban.

“I think a lot of that is just bringing a confidence that you’re going to control the …

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Tyler Myers sat three games. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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TORONTO – As promised following Tuesday’s 4-3 home loss to Philadelphia, interim Buffalo Sabres coach Ted Nolan will made lineup moves for tonight’s game against the Maple Leafs inside the Air Canada Centre.

Winger Drew Stafford (upper body) will return from a four-game absence. Tough guy John Scott will play after being a healthy scratch Tuesday.

Nolan said Marcus Foligno was banged up against the Flyers and will sit. The winger’s day-to-day. Winger Linus Omark, who has one point in nine games, …

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Pat LaFontaine smiles Tuesday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The old school part of hockey, Pat LaFontaine said, is earning your keep. There has to be a standard. Players must perform consistently once they crack the NHL.

LaFontaine, a Hockey Hall of Famer, skated on the fourth line as a teenage NHL phenom. Legendary New York Islanders coach Al Arbour wouldn’t let him take a defensive-zone faceoff for years.

Former general manager Darcy Regier gave 19-year-old Sabres prospect Mikhail Grigorenko a roster spot during the summer. The team’s new …

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Mikhail Grigorenko sat again Thursday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – In past world junior championship appearances, Sabres center Mikhail Grigorenko said he would’ve been concentrating solely on his offensive game.

“I didn’t really think about defense or penalty kills or faceoffs or winning battles,” the 19-year-old prospect said Thursday prior to sitting out the Sabres’ 2-1 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers as a healthy scratch.

But Grigorenko feels he’s evolving. This year, while scoring five goals and eight points in seven games as Russia won bronze, he played differently.

“I …

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Tyler Myers can return next Wednesday in Toronto. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Tyler Myers knows “it doesn’t matter what type of hit it is anymore.”

“If there’s any contact to the head, it’s going to be two to five games,” the Sabres defenseman said following practice today inside the First Niagara Center.

Myers received a three-game suspension for hitting Dainius Zubrus in the head late in Saturday’s 2-1 win against New Jersey.

“They explained that he gave me two and then they gave me one for being a repeat,” Myers said. “It is …

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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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Tyler Myers was also suspended two years ago. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The NHL has suspended Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers three games for an illegal check to Dainius Zubrus’ head in Saturday’s 2-1 win against the New Jersey Devils.

At 7:02 into the third period, the 6-foot-8 Myers hit Zubrus, who’s three inches shorter, high along the wall, earning a minor penalty for an illegal hit to the head.

In a video posted on NHL.com explaining the suspension, NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan said Myers made Zubrus’ head the main point of contact.

“Just …

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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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Tyler Myers hit Dainius Zubrus on Saturday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers will have a phone hearing Monday with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan for his illegal hit to Dainius Zubrus’ head, according to multiple reports.

At 7:02 into the third period in Saturday’s 2-1 win against the New Jersey Devils, the 6-foot-8 Myers hit Zubrus, who’s three inches shorter, high along the wall, earning a minor for an illegal check to the head.

Following the game, Myers said he had “no idea” if Shanahan would be contacting him.

“I …

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