The word inside the Sabres' dressing room after practice Tuesday was that winger Vaclav Varada would end his holdout and report to the team Thursday.
Apparently, the only person who didn't know about Varada's much-discussed travel plans was Varada. The winger has no intentions of coming to camp until an agreement is reached and did not expect one in the near future.
"Who said that?" Varada asked when reached Tuesday in the Czech Republic. "That's something new. We're in talks, but nothing has come up yet. I'm not coming in. I didn't order (plane) tickets. I'm not ready to move yet."
The rumor apparently started in a Czech Republic newspaper and filtered back to the Sabres. General manager Darcy Regier said he heard about the report from European scout David Volek and was surprised because negotiations had not been finalized with Rich Winter, Varada's agent.
"We got the same report," Regier said. "I'm happy to hear that, but I wish his agent would let us know. The reports are out there, but it's not done. There are still some issues in regards to his contract situation."
Winter did not return telephone calls seeking comment. The two sides are working on a three-year deal. Neither the Sabres nor Varada would discuss details of negotiations.
Sources said Monday the Sabres are offering him about $700,000 per season. Varada is looking for about $700,000 in the first year but wants the third year to be closer to $1 million. They also disagree on bonuses, the sources said.
"If the deal is not getting done," Varada said, "then I will not be rushing in."
Varada has been playing for HC Vitkovice in the league for elite Czech players. He has two goals and four assists in five games. He had seven goals and 24 assists last season.
The Sabres and winger Miroslav Satan are still far apart in negotiations, but talks have increased since the 40-goal scorer took over the brunt of negotiations.
"We're still way apart," Regier said. "It's something that's making progress. Communication is on a regular basis, so that's a positive sign."
Sources said the Sabres are offering about $2 million per season, and Satan is looking for about $3 million a year. He also is represented by Winter, but has been handling most of the talks by himself with help from an attorney.
Satan was unhappy with Winter last season and told at least a few teammates he was interested in finding a new agent. Winter, well-known in European hockey circles, also represents Dominik Hasek and Richard Smehlik.
Satan gambled on himself last season by signing a one-year contract worth $950,000. He responded with 40 goals and 26 assists for his best season in the NHL.
The other remaining unsigned free agents are defensemen Jay McKee and Rhett Warrener, and forwards Stu Barnes and Curtis Brown. Barnes elected to attend training camp while he works on a new deal.
Former Ottawa Senators tough guy Dennis Vial has been invited to camp to add muscle to the Sabres' lineup through the exhibition season. He could find a spot in Rochester.
Vial, 30, played five seasons with the Senators and fought Rob Ray numerous times over the years. He also played for the New York Rangers and Detroit. He played in the International Hockey League last season."One thing about coming here and being real nervous was meeting these guys on a different level," he said. "To be honest, the team I hated most playing against was Buffalo. To step in here like this was kind of a weird feeling, but it's gone pretty good for me."