2013-14 is here.

Nikita Zadorov hurt his thumb during the preseason finale. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Nikita Zadorov to make NHL debut soon; Rookies partake in ‘dance-off’ at end of practice

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Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald

BUFFALO – Get ready to see the sixth rookie skate for the Sabres this season.

Russian defenseman Nikita Zadorov, the 16th overall pick in June, will make his NHL debut soon, Sabres coach Ron Rolston said.

The 18-year-old Zadorov, out since hurting his finger during the preseason finale, has been practicing with the Sabres.

“He’s getting there,” Rolston said about Zadorov’s recovery following practice today inside the First Niagara Center.

When will Zadorov, who skated beside Jamie McBain today, play?

“Any time is possible,” Rolston said.

The 1-7-1 Sabres host Colorado on Saturday.

When the Sabres signed Zadorov to a three-year, entry-level deal last month, general manager Darcy Regier said he would likely be sent back to the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights.

Zadorov was one of the youngsters Rolston called to center ice at the end of practice for a “rookie dance-off.” Yes, the struggling Sabres had their rookies dance on skates with the rest of the team surrounding them.

Players showcased all sorts of odd moves while jumping and spinning.

“Get a little energy going and have some fun, a rookie dance-off,” Rolston said.

Zemgus Girgensons and Johan Larsson made it to the “final.”

“I thought Girgensons won it,” Sabres winger Tyler Ennis said. “I think he was moving pretty good out there, looked a little bit like Miley Cyrus.”

Really?

“Twerking on skates, that’ll be the first time,” Ennis said.

Meanwhile, Girgensons practiced fully today sporting a full plastic shield and will return Saturday, Rolston said. The rookie winger missed one game after taking a puck off the face Tuesday.

Forward Cody McCormick didn’t practice today after blocking a shot in Thursday’s 3-0 loss to Vancouver.

Rolston said McCormick’s day-to-day.

Related: Junior still likely destination for Sabres prospect Nikita Zadorov after signing entry-level contract

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