The Buffalo Sabres lifted defenseman Nikita Zadorov’s suspension when he returned to the team Wednesday. Still, the 19-year-old defenseman won’t play tonight against the Oilers.
The Sabres suspended Zadorov on Monday after his flight from the Dominican Republic got oversold, leaving him stuck following the NHL All-Star break.
The Russian missed Monday’s practice and the team’s flight to Calgary. He was scratched for Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to the Flames.
“Somebody does that, you just don’t say, ‘I’m sorry’ and put them right back in,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan told media outlets Wednesday in Edmonton, including The Buffalo News.
Zadorov practiced Wednesday and will likely play Friday in Vancouver, Nolan said.
The rookie, whose maturity has been an issue all season, apologized to his teammates, Nolan said.
“He may be immature in some things, but (he’s) very mature in others,” Nolan said. “He had a nice conversation with the team. He spoke to the team. He apologized to the team, and it wasn’t your standard, ‘I’m sorry.’ It was heartfelt.
“Sometimes, like we’re all going through this year, it’s a learning curve – it’s a big learning curve – and rebuilds are something that are not pleasant.”
Zadorov added: “It’s kind of my fault. I guess I shouldn’t do that.”
Nolan understands Zadorov’s mistake.
“I was just mentioning if I was 19, went somewhere and they told me to come back Sunday, I’d probably come back on Sunday, too,” Nolan said. “I just didn’t have anyone to inform me at the time, say, ‘Hey, maybe you should come back on Saturday just in case the flight gets canceled.’”
Tonight’s game features the NHL’s two worst teams. The Sabres, who rank 30th, have lost 12 straight games in regulation.