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Zadorov shines in his NHL debut with Sabres
20.10.2013. Harrington, Mike. McClatchy - Tribune Business News

 Oct. 20--The brightest spot from another dreary Sabres defeat was easy to find Saturday in First Niagara Center.

Nikita Zadorov, the 18-year-old defenseman taken with the second of Buffalo's pair of first-round picks in June, made a strong NHL debut in the 4-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche.

Zadorov played 11 minutes, 1 second, had no turnovers and led what was a seven-man defense corps with three hits.

Zadorov, who suffered a sliced pinky in the final preseason game, was added to the roster two hours before the contest as fellow first-rounder Rasmus Ristolainen was sent to Rochester. Zadorov played as confidently as he did in the exhibition schedule, even though he admitted the pace of play with an opposing lineup full of veterans was much different.

"I'm never nervous before the game," Zadorov said. "It's my life to play hockey. Why be nervous if I like it? I did a pretty good job in the preseason games and the coaches saw that. I think they think I'm ready to go."

The Sabres can give Zadorov nine games before his entry-level contract kicks in. They could still send him back to London of the OHL, but coach Ron Rolston said Zadorov will get more action in future games before any decision is made.

Zadorov said he did not know what the Sabres have planned for him.

"It's a question for coaches. They told me to play hard every shift," he said. "They just keep giving me more and more time. It's the first NHL game for me. It's a new life for me. I feel comfortable. It's my game and I like to play hockey."

With Zadorov dressing, the Sabres have become the first NHL team in 18 years to dress four teenagers in a season (Zadorov, Ristolainen, Zemgus Girgensons, Mikhail Grigorenko). In the 1995-96 season, the Sabres, Winnipeg and Florida all dressed at least four. The Sabres in that season had Jay McKee, Martin Biron, Wayne Primeau, Vaclav Varada and Curtis Brown.

Ristolainen's demotion could be a paper move, with the Sabres figuring out what to do on defense before they play Boston on Wednesday. Ristolainen did not go to Rochester Saturday as he was spotted leaving the building after the Sabres' defeat was completed and the scratched/injured players were dismissed.

Страничка Никиты Задорова на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"


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