Sabres defenseman James Patrick retired yesterday to end a 21-year NHL career and accepted an assistant coaching position with the team.
Patrick, 42, contemplated playing for one more season, but made the decision to retire when the Sabres offered him a job as a developmental instructor -- a position the team created specifically for him.
''When I analyze it, I never would've dreamed of playing as long as I have and I'm excited about taking this next step," Patrick said.
He expects the decision to retire to hit him once Sabres players report for the start of training camp Monday.
McKee on way out?Veteran defenseman Jay McKee is beginning to wonder whether he's played his last game with the Sabres.
A restricted free agent, McKee has heard his name mentioned in trade rumors, is concerned about the lack of progress in contract talks, and can't say whether he anticipates reporting for the start of training camp next week.
McKee might learn more about his situation today, when he and the Sabres face a deadline for the player to accept a one-year, $1.6 million qualifying offer.
Penguins to sign CrosbyThe Pittsburgh Penguins didn't want Sidney Crosby to miss even a minute of their first training camp in two years.
The Penguins are expected to announce today the No. 1 draft pick has signed his first NHL contract, a formality since the new labor deal limits his first-year compensation to $850,000 in salary and $850,000 in bonuses.