So today was a really, really depressing day. Some things happen in your life that just flat out suck, and even if you see them coming it still hurts when it all goes down. Oh, and to top that all off Craig Rivet is out for a few weeks.
I had really started to like this Craig Rivet kid, and just like that he disappears for a little while. He really has blown away every expectation I had of him, and getting the “C” only shows how important he is to this team. In a way I’m kind of amazed he had anything wrong with him. I know Lindy mocked the media for not knowing he was hurt, but I didn’t see any major problems in his game, and he hasn’t been on the team long enough for me to completely grasp his usual ice time.
I liked that Ruff said this would just be a chance for someone to step up for a few weeks, but I really do think this is going to hurt the team. What Rivet has done for this team in just six games is far more than a few assists and good play in front of Miller. This was an complete attitude adjustment that took place, and I hope it doesn’t go away in his absence. Someone better be there to take a swing at a guy who hacks at one of the best goaltenders in hockey. Rivet won’t be there to do it, but I will be watching to see who takes is place for a few weeks.
This team is good, and I won’t have the “which team is better” debate between the Bills and Sabres because that’s about as stupid as asking which championship is easier to win. (Oops, WGR did both today…) However Chris is right, both teams have the depth to overcome injuries, and already we are seeing a Bills team get healthy and get better as the season goes along. In a few weeks Hecht and Goose will come back too, and I’d expect the Sabres to follow a path similar to that of the Bills.
One thing I loved to see from Rivet last night was his effort late in the game. He lost an edge on the blue line and Boston started back with an odd man break. Just like that Rivet was up on his feet and off like a bullet to get back into the play. I admired the effort then, and I only admire it more now that I know how much it must have hurt. That is the kind of effort, the kind of sacrifice you hear about often but rarely see.
Think about that play for a moment and ask yourself again if he would make a good captain for this young team. I think he was a godsend for a group like this, and that leadership will rub off on his teammates even if it was only six games worth. Goal scorers are important, goaltending is essential, and coaching is always necessary to succeed. But as we’ve seen before, you can’t get anywhere near what you really want without heart. Craig Rivet has already shown us he has plenty of that, and I think he’s going to bounce back just fine.
So will I.