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Nikita Zadorov could get sent back to junior. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres tough guy John Scott regrets ‘Princess Phaneuf’ comment; Roster moves coming

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Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald

BUFFALO – Sabres tough guy John Scott said Monday his “Princess Phaneuf” comment about Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf was a “slip of the tongue.”

“Obviously, a little emotional at the time,” Scott said inside the First Niagara Center following practice about his comment Saturday. “I haven’t trademarked it. I kind of regretted it.”

Following the Sabres’ 4-2 loss in Toronto, Scott said Phaneuf “bailed” as he approached him. A mini-melee ensued, and Scott received 14 penalty minutes for doing very little, effectively ending his night.

“All of a sudden I’m not allowed to hit him anymore,” Scott told MSG. “He’s ‘Princess Phaneuf.’ It’s a joke. … I guess you’re not allowed to hit the star guys anymore in this league.”

Scott called the nickname a “non-issue.”

“I just once again kind of shoot my mouth off, a little too fired up after the game and said something, didn’t really realize it was going to get the traction it’s kind of gotten,” he said.

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Interim Sabres coach Ted Nolan said defenseman Mike Weber (broken thumb, 10 games) should return tonight against the St. Louis Blues, meaning a roster move must be made.

The Sabres could send one or two of their youngsters back to junior or the AHL.

Nolan has been talking with Pat LaFontaine, the new president of hockey operations, about moves. The Sabres have four teenagers on the roster.

“I didn’t realize how young they really were, the positions that they’re in and the capabilities of what they could do besides playing here,” said Nolan, who took over for Ron Rolston on Wednesday.

The Sabres could also recall some players from Rochester, he said.

“There’s a couple players playing exceptionally well down there that deserve an opportunity,” Nolan said.

Nolan said he wants to stop “force-feeding.”

“Everything is subject for change right now,” he said.

The easiest move might be sending rookie defenseman Nikita Zadorov back to the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights.

Nolan said reassignments can enhance careers.

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Nolan on meeting Sabres goalie Ryan Miller: “You can tell how much he loves Buffalo and how much of a competitor he really is and how disappointed he is with the season. That was enough for me right there. You can see why he’s one of the league’s best goaltenders.”

Expect Miller, who’s played 15 of the 22 games, to receive even more action. Nolan wanted to play him Saturday, although backup Jhonas Enroth was already slated to start.

“But now we’re putting on our own stamp on it,” Nolan said.

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Nolan, who first watched the Sabres on Tuesday against Los Angeles, a game they won 3-2 in a shootout despite getting outshot 45-17, said he sees a “night-and-day difference” in the team after coaching two games.

“Now these guys, they’re not that bad,” Nolan said. “We just need some direction with how we’re going to play and then make them feel good.”

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Former Sabres center Derek Roy will make his first appearance here since the Sabres traded him to Dallas in July 2012. Roy has five goals and 11 points in 19 games in his first season with the Blues. He’s been playing wing.

Related: Sabres showcase more compete in loss to Leafs

Ted Nolan puts Sabres through lively practice, says he has ‘nothing to carry over’ against Leafs

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