Captain Anyone?

The Sabres have yearned for a great captain to take charge and lead the team to Stanley Cup Glory. Philadelphia is loaded with talented leaders such as Danny Briere. Our arch nemesis Boston too is equipped with good, hard working players. And then there’s the Sabres, a team full of…..bland.

Is it asking too much for a team that is supposed to have “grizzled” veterans to step up their game? Are the Sabres even aware of the current standings?

And how embarrassing is it for Lindy Ruff and the Sabres to bench “captain” Craig Rivet for the fifth time this season? Good Captians Don’t Sit! Remember when Mark Messier or Steve Yzerman were a healthy scratch? You shouldn’t! Not once did both great leaders have to sit in the stands and watch the game because the coach questioned their role!

Looking at the Sabres roster just shows how thin and pathetic Buffalo really is. Wasn’t this the “off-season” Darcy Regier promised to make “drastic changes” to the lineup? But the message was sent loud and clear: let Tallinder and Lydman walk out the door, sign a couple of replacements in Morrison, Leopold and add a forward veteran in Rob Niedemayer….the other Niedemayer.

Obviously something has to give. Unfortunatly, I can only see two players on this team full of sloths that maybe, just maybe are worthy of steering this ship made entirely out of fools gold into the right direction.

Mike Grier

Sure, he isn’t the flashiest of them all. But Big Mike has a history with the Sabres and was one of the biggest reasons as to why Buffalo almost made it to the Stanley Cup Finals four years ago. He knows his role as a player and to my recollection, Grier hasn’t been a healthy scratch this season.

My only problem with Grier is that he is not a top six forward. Instead, you are most likely to find Grier along the boards fighting for the puck or playing solid defense. Age is also a factor! At 35 years old, Grier isn’t getting any younger and he isn’t the player he used to be. But leadership is something the Sabres sorely lack, and Grier has plenty of respect amongst the players in the locker room.

Thomas Vanek

Call me crazy, but this might work. Sometimes Vanek wants to make you rip out your hair or shout a couple of curse words. But the former Golden Gopher plays with emotion. Vanek actually cares about whether the team loses or not.

Don’t get me wrong! Vanek has grossly underachieved over the past couple of years. But if Vanek could mature just a tad and play like a two-way stud on a consistent basis, then count me in! Remember the way he played against against the Capitols and Canucks earlier the season? Yeah, that Vanek!

Vanek has the tools and ability to become an elite player in the NHL. So far this season, Vanek has tallied a total of 9 goals and 9 assists. The bad news is he has a plus minus rating of -7. Still not living up to his potential? You bet!

But I like to roll the dice now and then. The Sabres need a drastic move. Maybe this will get the players attention. Or this could be a complete trainwreck. What else is new!

The only reason why I left Ryan Miller off the list is because he is a goalie. Miller is a great leader in and outside the locker room. Yes, elite goaltenders can and tend to shift the momentum of a game from time to time. But because he is in and around the crease for most of the game, his chances of scoring the game winning goal in overtime is severly limited.

It’s time to make a change in the locker room. Fire Ruff, Regier or take a risk and make a trade that would shakeup the roster. If that doesn’t happen within the next couple of weeks, fine! But for crying out loud, at least strip Rivet of the letter C!

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