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Sabres captain Craig Rivet claimed by Columbus

There’s been an ongoing debate about when the Sabres should name a new captain, but nothing changed because technically they still had one on the roster. Not anymore.

Buffalo captain Craig Rivet is now a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets after being claimed on re-entry waivers. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun was first to report the move after the 12:00 deadline.

The Sabres will be on the hook for half of Rivet’s remaining salary, and he will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

Columbus sits in 12th place in the West, two points out of a playoff spot and just four points out of 5th place with 21 games remaining.

Rivet was acquired by the Sabres in July 2008 from San Jose with a seventh round pick in 2010 in exchange for two second round picks. In 165 games with Buffalo, Rivet scored four goals and added 38 assists. One of those 38 assists was on Jason Pominville’s winner in the memorable win over San Jose after the Flight 3407 disaster.

Rivet also scored the game winner in the Game 1 victory over Boston in the first round of the 2010 playoffs.

After the series loss, it was revealed that the captain had been playing all season with a shoulder injury that required surgery. Hopes were that he would be stronger than in years past, but he struggled to stay in the lineup this season, becoming a healthy scratch back in October and appearing in only 23 games before leaving today.

Now is not the time: The case to sell at the deadline

With the frenzy of deadline day only a mere week away, and the Buffalo Sabres living on the fringe of the playoff picture, there’s no easy answer as to what GM Darcy Regier should be doing.

(No, the answer is not “quitting” and/or “leaving town”, morons.)

New ownership is taking over tomorrow and with that comes hope for a new era. The only problem is the team isn’t showing us on the ice why there is reason to hope… for this season anyways. A three game losing streak comes at a horrible time, squandering a chance to put the team into the top 8 and creating doubt as to whether it would be worth it to try and make a push this season. The choice should be obvious.

Sell.

Sell everything you can and get whatever you can. The 2010-2011 Buffalo Sabres have done nothing to show they are capable of being successful in the postseason. What is the point of sacrificing potential down the road for a better chance to get nowhere? The returns for rentals is so high, it’d be stupid not to take advantage of it.

Now, keep in mind that the Sabres haven’t often been in the position to sell off rentals. In recent history, the only selling they have done was when they traded Brian Campbell at the deadline in 2008. At the time, Buffalo was in 9th place, tied with 8th place Philadelphia in points. Still, knowing they had an expiring asset, management decided to sell. The Sabres missed the playoffs, as they probably would have, finishing on a 9-7-3 run and four points out of 8th in 10th place.

But for the 19 games of Brian Campbell they gave up, the return was huge. The San Jose Sharks sent forward Steve Bernier and a 1st round pick to Buffalo for the red-headed defenseman. The Sabres would trade Bernier to Vancouver in the offseason for a 2009 3rd round pick and a 2010 2nd round pick, and then deal that 2010 pick at last year’s deadline in a deal for Raffi Torres.

In sacrificing a futile playoff push, the Sabres netted draft picks that brought them Tyler Ennis (the 1st from San Jose), Brayden McNabb (the 3rd from Vancouver) and an asset they could use for a rental when they have a better team.

This is not a suggestion to hold a clearance sale and get rid of everyone. It’s just a good idea to liquidate the expiring assets, because… well, they really aren’t going to make much difference this season. Read the rest of this entry

Overreactions from Game 2 of 82

This isn’t intended to be a regular feature, but since Saturday night’s showing was the polar opposite of Friday night, why not?

After what can be considered a “horseshit performance” against the New York Rangers on the night the Sabres raised their 2010 Northeast Division championship banner, any swagger the team or fans may have had after Friday’s win over rival Ottawa is sure to be fleeting.

The Sabres came out in their (lame, in my opinion) 40th anniversary jerseys and looked as soft as the felt used for the numbers. The Rangers walked away with a 6-3 win on the strength of rookie Derek Stepan’s hat trick in his NHL debut.

“There’s lots of things we can certainly review and learn from,” Sabres defenseman Steve Montador said. “That’s not NHL defensive-zone hockey. That’s summertime shinny. That’s first and foremost in the defensive zone that we’re going to be looking at.”

Among the things that were gathered from that clunker of a showing:

  • It would be hard as a enthusiastic supporter of USA Hockey not to be happy for Derek Stepan putting up that kind of effort in his NHL debut. Stepan was the captain and one of the heroes for last year’s World Junior gold-medal winning American squad. Would love to have a guy like that in the Sabres organization. Read the rest of this entry

Defensive logjam becomes defensive logjam

Everyone saw it coming and here we are.

The Sabres are ready for it.

Barring a trade, which seems unlikely, coach Lindy Ruff confirmed this afternoon that the Sabres will start the season with eight defensemen on their roster. Mike Weber, Andrej Sekera and Chris Butler would all have to go through waivers and the Sabres aren’t likely to take that risk to get one of them back to Portland.

Based on the fact Sekera and Butler struggled to get in the lineup at the end of last season, the road is clear for Weber to be the No. 6 defenseman to join Tyler Myers, Craig Rivet, Steve Montador and newcomers Jordan Leopold and Shoane Morrisonn. Provided, of course, Weber doesn’t stub his toe in the exhibition season.

“You always look at it that you can never have enough defensemen,” Ruff said. “It’s always tough when you have extra around but you get one or two hurt and that makes it tough on the team.”

Well, if you’ve got a surplus, why don’t you move one? Not that easy.

Darcy Regier isn’t the type to make a move for the sake of making it, especially not unless he’s getting at least what he feels is fair value in exchange. And to give up on a player he drafted? Fat chance. Read the rest of this entry

What the hell happened to the Sabres team awards?

With tomorrow night’s game marking the end of the Sabres’ home schedule, I’ve got a bone to pick with the organization.

Back in the day, before many younger Sabres fans actually became fans (remember Jason Botterill? No?), the home finale was always marked with the handing out of the team awards, recognizing players for their achievements over the course of the season.

This presentation has been absent over the past few seasons, and it took tuning in to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ recent ceremony to remember how nice it was to do this for the players and the fans. Why did they ever stop doing it in the first place?

After some brief research, the most recent record I could find of the award history came in the 2002-2003 media guide. Each publication since then has been completely stricken of any evidence, like such a thing never happened.

Now, I’ve had issues with the Sabres and how they run things over at Seymour H. Knox III Plaza, especially when it comes to game presentation and publications, and the way this has disappeared is just deplorable. I’m sure it’s too late to do anything about it now, but what’s stopping them from bringing it back? I’m gonna go ahead and say nothing but their own incompetence, but I could be wrong.

So, since they’re not going to do it, I’ll hand out this year’s awards.

Frank Eddolls Memorial Trophy (most popular player as voted by fans)

Ryan Miller, G

Miller has ascended to superstar status this season, and from his MVP-caliber play in Buffalo to his already legendary performance at the Vancouver Games, he has earned every bit of love he’s received from the fans this season. Easily the most popular player on the team right now.

Last five winners: 2001-02 – Martin Biron, 2000-01 – none, 1999-00 – Rob Ray, 1998-99 – Dominik Hasek, 1997-98 – Dominik Hasek

Memorial Trophy (most valuable player, as voted by players)

Ryan Miller, G

Players don’t just get a lot of consideration for the Hart or Vezina trophies without deserving it. Miller is still an odds on favorite to win the Vezina trophy and is one of the top candidates to be named MVP. As an unquestioned leader in the locker room and on the ice, it’s easy to see where the players would go with this.

Last five winners: 2001-02 – none, 2000-01 – none, 1999-00 – none, 1998-99 – Dominik Hasek & Miroslav Satan, 1997-98 – Dominik Hasek

Tim Horton Memorial Award (unsung hero, voted by fans and media)

Henrik Tallinder, D

While rookie phenom Tyler Myers has been a rock all season on the blueline, his partner has been often overlooked for his strong play. Tallinder has been rejuvenated by the pairing, rebounding from an awful season last year to being the team’s clear-cut #2 defenseman. Hank went from trade bait as a pending UFA after last season to being a likely candidate for a contract extension.

Last five winners: 2001-02 – James Patrick, 2000-01 – Rhett Warrener, 1999-00 – James Patrick & Stu Barnes, 1998-99 – Jason Woolley, 1997-98 – Alexei Zhitnik

Fred T. Hunt Memorial Trophy (best rookie, as voted by fans and media)

Tyler Myers, D

There’s no room for argument here. Myers has been a revelation this season, and has been a Calder trophy favorite since October. Myers could be the first Sabre to take home the Calder since Tom Barrasso in 1984. This is what a franchise defenseman looks like.

Last five winners: 2001-02 – none, 2000-01 – Dmitri Kalinin, 1999-00 – Martin Biron, 1998-99 – none, 1997-98 – none

Star of Stars Trophy (best performance in home games by three star selections)

Ryan Miller, G

Miller was a relative runaway winner in this award. Miller was named first star in five of the 40 home games and second star in five others. Ryan has had so many strong outings this season at HSBC Arena, this is not an upset. Thomas Vanek was second and Tim Connolly third. The last Sabres skater to win this award was Alexander Mogilny in 1992-93.

Last five winners: 2001-02 – Martin Biron, 2000-01 – Dominik Hasek, 1999-00 – Martin Biron, 1998-99 – Dominik Hasek, 1997-98 – Dominik Hasek

Punch Imlach Memorial Award (dedication and leadership)

Craig Rivet, D

As a senior member of the roster, it’s hard to argue against Rivet’s qualifications. The captain has battled all season and has been a leader by example on the ice in sticking up for teammates and showing effort. While his play has slipped, the guy has shown why he wears the “C” on his jersey.

Last five winners: 2001-02 – Stu Barnes, 2000-01 – Stu Barnes, 1999-00 – Rhett Warrener, 1998-99 – Michael Peca, 1997-98 – Michael Peca

So, Buffalo Sabres employees, whenever you wanna stop disregarding the team’s history and go back to doing the awards, feel free.

Getting to Know Your Newest Buffalo Sabre: Craig Rivet

So, the Sabres have a new player. Here’s what you might want to know:

Craig Rivet
Defense
6’2″/210
Shoots: Right
Born: September 13, 1974 / North Bay, Ontario
Drafted: Montreal’s 3rd rd pick, 68th overall in 1992
NHL Seasons: 13
Former Teams: Montreal, San Jose
Contract: $3.5M per year, expires 2011

3RD MAN IN – 3 BIG POINTS

  • Scored his first NHL goal against Eric Fichaud, then of the New York Islanders.
  • Real first name is Anthony.
  • Played on Team Canada in the 2003 World Championships, winning a gold medal with then-Sabres Daniel Briere and Martin Biron.

Read the rest of this entry

Sabres acquire Craig Rivet from San Jose

Darcy must like working on holidays. The Sabres have a new defenseman.

The Sabres sent two second round picks to San Jose in exchange for defenseman Craig Rivet and a seventh round pick.

In 2007-08, Rivet scored five goals and 30 assists in 74 regular season games. The assists and 35 points were career highs. He also had six assists in 13 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Can you stop freaking out now, Sabres Nation? Read the rest of this entry

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