Could Michael Peca Become Head Coach Of The Buffalo Sabres Eventually?
I'm a 30-year-old Buffalo Sabres fan and I first started watching the NHL and the Sabres around the 98-99 season, which just so happens to be the year the Sabres went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.
They were defeated in six games by the Dallas Stars (the dreaded "No Goal" game), but the memories of watching that as a little kid put a huge impression on me and introduced me to the game of hockey.
Everyone knows that goaltender Dominik Hasek was the biggest reason the Sabres made it that far, but the heart of the skaters was captain Michael Peca.
Peca was first traded to the Sabres from the Vancouver Canucks in 1995 and played six years with Buffalo before being traded to the New York Islanders after a contract dispute. He also was a key contributor for the Edmonton Oilers' 2006 playoff run and ended his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets before retiring in 2009.
Peca has lived much of his life in Buffalo and now will be spending a lot of time in Rochester. He was officially hired as an assistant coach with the Rochester Amerks of the AHL.
The move is welcomed by Sabres fans because let's face it, Peca is still beloved by Buffalonians. What's interesting is the Sabres are clearly in a rebuilding mode, as they have traded away defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and centre Sam Reinhart this offseason. Captain Jack Eichel is expected to be traded eventually and that would leave the Sabres with one of the (if not, the) youngest roster in the NHL.
Don Granato was the interim head coach last season and was hired to the full-time role for this upcoming season. However, it's not hard to foresee a situation where Granato will be a placeholder for another head coach in the future and who knows, that could be 47-year-old Peca.
The Sabres are at an all-time low for fan morale. A decade of losing and missing the playoffs and fans have had enough of bad management and disgruntled players. Bringing back someone like Peca to the organization is a great move for that and Peca has coached since retiring in 2009; albeit, not to the NHL or AHL level as an assistant or head coach.
It's a reason why I think guys such as Ryan Miller and Danny Briere should come back to the organization in some capacity. Adam Mair was brought in for player development and Matt Ellis and Mike Weber are already assistant coaches 9Ellis for the Sabres and Weber with the Amerks).
If Peca does well, who knows, maybe he's the guy the Sabres promote to their staff in the next 2-3-4 years.
The Sabres need to be thinking of fan morale, along with rebuilding the team on the ice. Bringing back Peca might help in both facets.