BUFFALO – The Sabres suspended Nikita Zadorov today after the 19-year-old defenseman failed to report back to the team on time following the NHL All-Star break.
“What can you do?” coach Ted Nolan said this afternoon after the Sabres practiced without Zadorov inside HarborCenter. “The travel conditions sometimes get in the way. That’s how it is.”
In a statement, general manager Tim Murray said Zadorov would join the team on its trip out west. Nolan wasn’t sure about the length of the suspension.
“We’ll deal with it when he gets back,” Nolan said.
Update: Zadorov’s flight from the Dominican Republic was oversold by six people, Rolland Hedges, Zadorov’s agent, told the Times Herald.
“He’s upset,” said Hedges, who said “everything” was tried to get him back on time.
Zadorov’s flying back to Buffalo with his girlfriend. He will then join the team in Calgary, Hedges said.
Hedges is hopeful the suspension will be lifted when Zadorov meets the team.
Zadorov’s maturity has been a big issue throughout the season. Nolan sat him much of October before he earned a spot.
“When you’re a 19-year-old kid, sometimes if you’re not instructed to do things, you know how kids can be sometimes,” Nolan said. “But this will be a big, big learning curve for him. But we’ll deal with it when he gets back.”
In other news, the Sabres have recalled goalie Matt Hackett from Rochester because Michal Neuvirth suffered a lower-body injury working out during the break.
“Little bit banged up yesterday on the skate, so he won’t be making the trip with us,” Nolan said about Neuvirth.
Neuvirth will be sidelined “not long, long, but long enough,” Nolan said.
The injury isn’t related to his hip injury from last season.
The Sabres have also summoned center Matt Ellis from Rochester.
Meanwhile, captain Brian Gionta (upper body) and defenseman Mike Weber (undisclosed) are ready to return.
Nolan said center Marcus Foligno (hand) is visiting doctors today and “getting closer,” Nolan said.