'"I can't really say I have regrets," Peca said. "Life would be great if you could go through it without having to make tough decisions. And going through this process, I think I had to make a couple of them. But today is a day that made up for it a bit."'
'Yet Connolly, also a center, was the Islanders first pick (fifth overall) in the 1999 entry draft, and is projected to be a good-to-very-good player in the NHL now and for many years to come. Pyatt, already in the NHL at age 19, is a prototype power winger and went eighth in that same draft. A big left winger is something the Sabres definitely needed.'
'"Throughout the process, indications of my frustrations were pretty evident from time to time. Now it's just a point where I wish the Sabres organization well, I thank them and the city of Buffalo and the fans for everything I was able to enjoy in my five years playing here," Peca said.'
'Connolly, 21, played in all 82 games for the Islanders last season and had 10 goals and 31 assists. The fifth overall pick in the 1999 draft, he had 14 goals as a rookie in 1999-2000. Pyatt, 21, had four goals and 14 assists in 78 games as a rookie last season. "We felt strongly we needed a playmaking center in the deal and we think we got that with Connolly," Regier said.'
'Peca's agent, Don Meehan, was incensed and said Sabres general manager Darcy Regier had made the situation "personal and petty." "They've had every opportunity for fair compensation from teams," Meehan said. "I mean, teams have come to me and told me that they are frustrated by the lack of any kind of response from Buffalo. It's beyond the point of rational."'
A look back at the career of the man who bridged two eras in Sabres' history — scoring the last goal at Memorial Auditorium and the first goal at Marine Midland Arena — and helped lead Buffalo through five of its most memorable seasons ever.
Of the 12 men who have worn the C for the Buffalo Sabres, only two were never traded: The first captain, Floyd Smith, who would eventually coach the team, and Gilbert Perreault.
Very few players have the skill that Tim Connolly can boast. The center sees the ice well and has a good feel for where his teammates are at all times. Connolly has a great shot, great passing skills and admirable stickhandling ability. He is a team player with a great attitude and drive to compete.
Taylor Pyatt is a monster. He is 6'4", 220 pounds and may still be growing. He has a gritty game and won't hesitate to mix things up. An effective forechecker, Pyatt is also responsible defensively. Despite his size, Pyatt is a good skater and has excellent speed, similar to Sabres' forward Erik Rasmussen. Taylor can be thought of as a slightly bigger version of Denis Hamel, complete with smoother skating and better pure skill.
'"But it's got to feel right. If it doesn't feel right at the time, you gotta ride it out a little longer."'
'"We added a variation of skill and grit and toughness. You're hopeful you can make them National Hockey League players. Chances are, some of them will play."'
'One of the reasons the Sabres didn't name a captain in Peca's absence is that Rhett Warrener, the likely choice, will be negotiating this summer. So the organization held the "C" at bay in order to avoid the possibility of having its captain a no-show to start consecutive seasons.'
'Novotny, 17, was the captain of the Czech Republic Under-18 national team and many scouts like his puck skills. But The Hockey News quoted critics as saying "I watch the game and wonder where he is," and "I don't know if he can be any more than a third-liner."'
'Barring a trade, the Buffalo Sabres are seriously considering spending $9 million to retain All-Star goalie Dominik Hasek's rights for one more season. What is uncertain is whether the Sabres will keep the six-time Vezina Trophy-winner or trade him in order to get some value in return.'
'Scouts question his consistency, but Novotny is a hard worker who excels on faceoffs.'