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On a quiet morning in DC, Sabres and NHL links -- and a big punch fells Lucic

WASHINGTON -- With last night's game against the New York Rangers postponed, the Sabres probably could have used a morning skate prior to tonight's game against the Capitals in the Verizon Center. But the building is taken up by a Georgetown-Robert Morris basketball game in the noon hour and the Sabres have scratched the thought of going to the Kettler Capitals Iceplex, the team's practice facility on the top floors of a mall in Arlington, Va., that was the inspiration for HarborCenter.

So we'll have updates from coach Ted Nolan later this afternoon on the first meeting of the season between the Sabres and Caps.

Here's a look at today's Sabres coverage and some news & notes from around the league:

Nikita Zadorov can finally unpack -- Tonight's game will kick in his entry-level contract and he's going nowhere else but on the ice for 15-20 minutes per game. Quite a transformation for the 19-year-old in a very short time after getting scratched in Traverse City.

A potpourri in today's Sabres notebook -- Michal Neuvirth's injury is short-term but Jhonas Enroth is ready to take over, Patrick Kaleta returns, the postponed game is rescheduled, and Nathan Lieuwen isn't looking at his numbers in Rochester (probably a good idea).

Ticket options for the schedule changes -- The wiped out game against the Rangers is Feb. 20 and the game that was slated that night against Ottawa will now be on Dec. 15. There's quite a lengthy list of options for ticket-holders on the team's Web site.


---What is going on in Edmonton? -- The Oilers are squarely in the McEichel Derby in a year they figured there was no way they would be. In fact, had the Sabres held their third-period lead against the Oil Nov. 7 in Buffalo,  it would be Edmonton in 30th place right now. Last night's 2-0 loss to New Jersey gave Edmonton its second five-game losing streak already this season.

---The controversy du jour in Toronto, as explained by Rob Longley in the Sun, came after Thursday's 5-2 win over Tampa Bay when the team did not do the traditional stick salute to fans at center ice and instead simply skated off. It was quickly perceived as a snub to the sweater-throwers by the voracious Toronto media, while players like captain Dion Phaneuf foolishly tried to say it was a "change in routine" when pressed on it Friday.

Good friend of the blog Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun has a good recap of the week that was in Toronto, starting with Saturday's implosion against the Sabres.

---Then there's old friend Milan Lucic. He had a little dustup with Columbus' Dalton Prout at the end of overtime Friday. It didn't go so well. Let's just say Twitter blew up with celebrating Sabres fans late Friday night after this one made the rounds. Here's the video from NESN and a memo to Bruins' play by play guy Jack Edwards: They're not "trading" punches.

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