To "C" Or Not To "C"

There has been a lot of criticism of Craig Rivet’s play over this past season, and let’s be honest: most of it had merit. There has also been some recent unrest in his captaincy and leadership of the team. Should Rivet be the Captain? How has he done so far? And who could take his place? Let’s take a look.

Craig Rivet came to the Sabres in the summer of 2008 after Darcy Regier pulled a “just kidding” on the San Jose Sharks and got a mulligan on the Steve Bernier trade. Almost immediately he was given the captaincy of the team (traded July 4th – Made Captian October 8th) replacing the rotating captaincy system.

Rivet has been the captain for 2 seasons in Buffalo, so let’s look at his stats while leading this club. Rivet posted reasonable enough numbers in 2008-09 with 24 points and a +4 rating. He also added some sandpaper to the lineup; however, this past season he fell off the map with 15 points and a -6 rating.

His overall defensive play was lacking and it looked like he lost a step. At the end of last season, Rivet admitted to playing injured for most of the year. He had torn his double labrum and was fighting through the pain for his teammates.

Rivet has been the Captain of what were arguably two competitive playoff teams who simply missed their mark due to inconsistencies. In his first season as captain of the Sabres, his team failed to crack the post-season due to several key injuries. This past year, they won the Northeast Division. Not a bad track record, and let’s also remember that, despite his injury, he was a +2 with a goal in the playoffs.

It is also important to recognize some of the other contributions Rivet has made to the team. First of all, he helped bring Mike Grier back to the team, which has established a group of go-to veterans in the locker room. I can’t say anything to Rivet’s leadership style, but if it is anything like his interactions with the media, he is direct and to the point.

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