Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff has named the team captain and the alternate captains for the entire season, and the player named might surprise you.
Newly acquired defenseman Craig Rivet was named the team captain for the year. It may come as a little bit of a shock to fans out there, and it even surprised the head coach a little.
“It shows the players showed a lot of instant respect for him and what he’s done,” Ruff said. “Was I a little bit surprised? Yes...To garner that much trust and respect from his teammates says a lot.”
Rivet was acquired in a trade from San Jose this offseason. The Sabres got him for second round selections in 2009 and 2010 (a 2010 seventh round pick was also given to the Sabres).
He was voted captain by his teammates, and the coaching staff agreed with their pick.
The 34-year-old vet is starting his 14th season in the NHL. Rivet has never really scored much from his defensive spot, but has played lock down defense and is a tough, gritty player. He also sticks up for his teammates, already getting into two fights during the preseason. Rivet will be on the team for a while too, as he is signed through the 2010-11 season.
Rivet also doesn’t come off the ice very much. In the last five years, he has averaged almost 22 minutes of ice time per game. Although he has not been named a captain in his career, he was an alternate captain with both the Montreal Canadiens and San Jose Sharks.
The captaincy will not be rotated like it was last year. Rivet will have it for the entire time. The alternate captains will bounce around though, as they go by where the game in being played that night. At home, winger Jason Pomminville and veteran defenseman Teppo Numminen will wear the “A” while defenseman Jaroslav Spacek and center Jochen Hecht get the honors on the road.
I personally like the move. Sure, it was a little bit of a shocker, but it is the right choice. Rivet is one of the oldest members of the Sabres and should provide great leadership to a young squad. The players also voted for him to be it, so he has the respect in the locker room. It should be interesting to see him for the first time against the one of his former teams, the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night.
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