Craig Rivet’s resume makes him an easy choice as the Captain of a team that relies on a core group of young players that, well really don’t have any experience.
Many in this group of players made hockey look easy out of the lockout, but struggled once the game changed back to some pre-lockout style grind. They didn’t handle adversity well. Rivet had been around the block. The Buffalo Sabres brought him in and made him a Captain for the “outside the box” interpretation of what was happening in Buffalo.
Unfortunately for Buffalo; this last lap around the block for the aging veteran seems to include a walker; or at best a cane.
Lindy Ruff’s message was very clear when the Captain was not on the ice for two games – we know your still here, but where is your head and your heart? Do you really want to captain this team? Deep inside, I think Ruff was hoping Rivet would pull the same thing he did; and give up the captaincy and demand a trade. While the trade part is more different and difficult now with the salary cap – the Sabres could use a fresh voice.
Now Rivet is out with the flu, and we all know with age we don’t recover as fast as we use to – having the flu sucks period – but how long will it sideline the veteran defenseman? Are we going to have to deal with Captain Illness/Injury this season as he justifies his existence in the league for one last season?
The Buffalo Sabres are the last team in the league that will abandon hope or give up on a player regardless of their situation, especially during the regular season – so his place in the locker room and his job as the big “C” are probably safe – but you have to wonder if spring time hockey in Buffalo is safe with Rivet at the helm.
On a team of underperformers and underachievers, the Sabres need a leader, someone who will spark a fire in the bellies of young players, not be the last one out on the ice for the pregame skate because he had to take his Geritol to make it through the game.