BUFFALO – For the second time in less than a month, Sabres defenseman Nikita Zadorov stood up before his teammates and apologized for breaking a rule.
On Sunday morning, the Sabres benched the 19-year-old Russian for showing up to a meeting late.
“I just feel sorry this happened. … I couldn’t do that,” Zadorov said this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center. “It was my mistake, 100 percent, no excuses, couldn’t do that. I spoke with the team, I said, ‘I’m sorry, boys. I don’t want to lose your trust.’ It’s all about the team. I just want to get back as soon as I can and help the team.”
He also apologized late last month after he got stuck in the Dominican Republic following the NHL All-Star break. The Sabres formally suspended him then.
“I felt pretty bad in myself because I made that mistake again, just try to be better teammate, and I will work on that,” Zadorov said.
Zadorov said his alarm didn’t go off Sunday morning. Instead of setting two alarms, Zadorov said he will now set three.
Before Zadorov talked, Sabres coach Ted Nolan downplayed the incident, saying the team will “let that lay.”
“It’s a minor thing that young people do,” he said. “I’m quite sure a lot of young 19-year-olds in university probably slept in and missed an exam once in a while.”
Zadorov will likely sit out Tuesday in Columbus. The Sabres still have defensemen Jake McCabe and Mark Pysyk up from Rochester. Both played well in Sunday’s 2-1 shootout loss to Nashville.
Sabres general manager Tim Murray has spoken with Zadorov, who skated this morning.
“He said same thing, ‘You can’t do that, you’re a young guy, you got to be careful. You got to have a plan B or something like that every time,’” Zadorov said. “Same thing with the flight. I will work on that. It’s my fault.”
Considering Murray didn’t draft Zadorov 16th in 2013 and his maturity has been a problem all season, Zadorov could be on thin ice here.
“It doesn’t matter if I was drafted by other guy,” Zadorov said. “I’m on his team. It’s his team right now. Yeah, I’m worried because I didn’t do the right things.”
In other news, defenseman Tyson Strachan (infection) won’t travel with the team today.
“I don’t think it’s a lengthy one, but I don’t think it’s a tomorrow type of thing, either,” Nolan said.
Nolan also said defenseman Josh Gorges had season-ending surgery for his lower-body injury today.