BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Nikita Zadorov will be scratched for tonight’s game against the Nashville Predators for “team reasons,” coach Ted Nolan said this morning.
The 19-year-old Zadorov, whose maturity has been a problem all season, was suspended last month after his flight back to Buffalo following the NHL All-Star break was oversold.
“It’s just part of the growing process,” Nolan said inside the First Niagara Center. “We’ll just have to deal with him. He’s a 19-year-old. Sometimes you’re mature in certain things, sometimes you’re not.”
Nolan wouldn’t give many details.
“We had a number of discussions, and another thing happened this morning,” he said about Zadorov. “We’ll talk to him again.”
Right now, the Sabres only plan to sit Zadorov tonight. The Sabres desperately need the Russian. Three defenseman – Josh Gorges, Tyson Strachan and Mike Weber – are injured. The Sabres need to recall two for tonight from Rochester, which has a 5 p.m. home game.
Update: The Sabres have recalled Jake McCabe and Mark Pysyk from Rochester.
“It’s tough on the team overall,” Nolan said.
Gorges will undergo season-ending surgery for his lower-body injury, Nolan said. The veteran should be ready for training camp. Meanwhile, Strachan showed up this morning with an infection. Weber is out two weeks after having surgery to repair his upper-body injury.
In other news, goalie Michal Neuvirth will start tonight against the Predators, the NHL’s best team.
Nolan said he has chatted briefly with new winger Evander Kane, who officially joined the team Friday following the Feb. 11 trade with Winnipeg. Kane is out for the season after having shoulder surgery.
The two mostly discussed non-hockey things.
“Seemed like a fine young man,” Nolan said. “We’ll get to know each other as we get going here a little bit more.”
Right now, Nolan doesn’t care about any of Kane’s past problems.
“He’s not with us,” he said. “Sometimes what happens in the past should be left in the past.”
Nolan said Kane’s issues will be discussed privately later.