Today, a day after Terry Pegula took over the reins as the owner of the Buffalo Sabres, the team cut ties with its captain, Craig Rivet.
Rivet had been a healthy scratch for a long time, and there wasn’t any indication that he’d be breaking into the lineup again anytime soon. The move gives Rivet a shot to be picked up by a playoff bound team that is looking for leadership and depth on defense, and it affords the Sabres $850k in cap room if someone does pluck him from the waiver wire.
Always a class act and reputed leader, Rivet was elected as Sabres captain – by his teammates – immediately after he was acquired from the San Jose Sharks in 2008. Now in 2011, his grit and character would seem to be exactly what the team is looking for, but age and injuries have slowed him down.
A decision had to be made. And for all parties, it was the right one.
For me, I’ll always remember Rivet for two things. The first is how he manhandled the Sabres forwards when he lined up against us in his earlier years in Montreal. The second is how his incredible leadership and resolve all came together in one incredible moment, on February 13th, 2009.
I swear, that video still brings the water out from behind my eyes. Rivet launched a rocket that found its way into the net (Rivet would be credited with the primary assist, one of a career high three assists on that night), and the Sabres would go on to find a way to bring a little bit of a fairy tale footnote to that horrible, nightmare of a day in Clarence – Rivet’s own adoptive town.
Craig, you’ll be missed.