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Milley, Pyatt battle to make NHL club

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  • billbarr@earthlink.net
    October 1, 2001 Tough decisions By RANDY SCHULTZ Faceoff.com correspondent It appears as though some tough decisions will have to made this week by the Buffalo
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      October 1, 2001
      Tough decisions

      By RANDY SCHULTZ
      Faceoff.com correspondent

      It appears as though some tough decisions will have to made this week
      by the Buffalo Sabres coaching staff. Two players that head coach
      Lindy Ruff and his staff will have to make decisions on will be
      forwards Norm Milley and Taylor Pyatt.

      Ironically, Milley and Pyatt have been on a line together during the
      exhibition season with Curtis Brown centring the duo.

      Both forwards have played very well, each making a case for
      themselves.

      Milley is a rookie, while Pyatt has one season of NHL experience
      under his belt.

      "We put it into the players hands to make the team with their play,"

      said Ruff. "We just wanted to see if anybody steps up their game to
      make the team."

      Milley, who scored 20 goals and 44 points in 72 regular season games
      for the Americans last season, is hoping to stick with the parent
      club.

      "There's no doubt that this is a big step for me," commented Milley.

      "I've been just trying to work hard in making this team.

      "My goal has been just to go out there and give it everything I've
      got and take it from there."

      Ruff likes Milley.

      "There's no doubt that Norm is a goal-scorer," commented Ruff. "He's
      proven that before by scoring 50 goals in a season in junior hockey.

      "He's proven what he can do up here. He's not afraid to go to the net
      and get his nose dirty. He seems to be willing to pay the price
      around the net."

      A couple of weeks ago it appeared as though rookie defenseman Brian
      Campbell had a great chance of making the team for this season.

      It now appears as though Campbell might not make the cut and could be
      sent back to Rochester of the AHL. Ruff has been very high on the
      young defenseman throughout training camp.

      In a recent exhibition game against the Ottawa Senators Campbell had
      four giveaways in the game.

      If the Sabres do keep Campbell, it will be in favor of veteran blue
      liner, Jason Woolley.

      WHO'S GOING TO WEAR THE C: Ruff, still isn't saying who will be
      wearing the "C" as captain. Ruff stated earlier that he may give it
      out to one player for the season. He has also stated that he might
      rotate it among several players throughout the season.

      The last player to wear the "C" for the Sabres was Michael Peca.
      Nobody wore it last year, with the team using three alternate
      captains throughout the 2000-2001 NHL campaign.

      During the pre-season four different players have worn the "C,"

      including Chris Gratton, Stu Barnes, Alexei Zhitnik and Brown.

      RASMUSSEN STILL HOLDING OUT: Erik Rasmussen continues his holdout
      with the Sabres. It doesn't appear as though the two sides are close
      to a deal.

      But that doesn't seem to bother Ruff.

      "I'm totally removed from that part of the game," commented Ruff. "It
      was the same thing for me last year with the Peca situation.

      "I just don't know why somebody like Erik is holding out.. The way I
      look at it is the fact that we have some good, young players just
      waiting to step into Erik's role.

      "The longer Erik holds out, the better it is for the younger players.
      At least that's the way the younger guys look at it."

      NEW CONTRACT FOR REGIER? Nobody from the Sabres ownership group has
      said a word about team GM Darcy Regier's contract status.

      Regier's old contract with the Sabres ran out in April. Since that
      time the GM has apparently been operating without one.

      Talk has it that the Regis family, who owns the team, is going to be
      offering a contract to Regier that will tie him to the team for the
      next six years.

      But right now nobody is talking.

      Randy Schultz covers the Buffalo Sabres on a freelance basis
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