It was announced last week that Buffalo Sabres’ captain Craig Rivet could miss four-to-six months after this week’s shoulder surgery.
The 35-year-old Rivet is looking to repair a double labrum tear which has gotten progressively worse over the course of the last two seasons. The initial reports out of Sabres’ camp is that Rivet may miss the opening week of the season, but Sabres general manager Darcy Reiger is more optimistic.
“Right now we think he'll be ready,” Regier told the Buffalo News last week. “It may pull him back a little bit from being physically involved in training camp for the first week or so, but based on what we’ve gotten back from the doctors he should be ready to go.”
But it’s been a while since Rivet has been “physically involved” in any of the Sabres’ games.
This past season, Rivet finished with just one goal and 15 points, a minus-six rating, and 100 penalty minutes.
If Rivet was to miss the beginning of the 2010-11 season like reports say, it would be the best thing that the captain has contributed to Buffalo in his two years with the team. His absence would more than likely allow Mike Weber to finally make an appearance with the Sabres—assuming they decide to re-sign the 22-year-old restricted free agent.
Not re-signing Weber would be a big mistake. While he has only played 23 games with the team in three seasons, but it a plus-nine in that span.
Weber only has three points in his 23-game NHL career due to the fact that he is more of a physical, “stay at home” defenseman—the exact type of defenseman that would allow either Chris Butler or Andrej Sekera to play their more offensive game without having to worry about Rivet being able to get back to make a play.
Whether it was the shoulder injury causing Rivet’s problems or not, it doesn’t change the fact that he is a slow skater who often takes bad penalties and makes poor decisions on the ice—qualities not often associated with a captain.
If Weber finally gets his chance due to Rivet’s surgery, then the surgery was a success. If Rivet misses a couple of weeks of play, then the surgery was a success. If Rivet is ready to go by opening day, consider the surgery a major failure.