PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 26: Craig Rivet #52 of the Buffalo Sabres controls the puck against the Philadelphia Flyers on October 26 2010 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
You have and most likely will read a million stories on the Rivet situation but its big enough news that we have to chime in as well. Rivet has been the captain of the Sabres since 2007 when he came to the team through trade and has performed admirably in that role. Unfortunately for him, the play on the ice hasn't followed suit. At times, he looks slow and often out of position and whether that is age catching up or injuries taking their toll, he's just not a good defenseman at this time. When you have eight defensemen in your lineup, playing a bad defenseman while a capable one is sitting in the press box creates an issue.
This is one of the few messages that Ruff could send to his team. Darcy mentioned to the media that he felt this team was lacking passion, which is something that is readily apparent on most nights. Benching your captain should fire your team up just by showing that no player is safe from the press box. Yet, this team still seemed listless when they got a lead and the defense still looks lost at times, especially on the Byfuglien goal.
What happens to the captaincy is anyone's guess from here. Rivet has definitely lost the captaincy at this point because his effectiveness to lead the team goes out the window when you are in the press box. Someone has to step up and assume that role. While we don't see what happens in the dressing room, the best player to assume that captaincy may be Derek Roy. His game has stepped up and beyond from last season and he looks like a player that has transformed a little from last season.
Moving on to the Thrashers game itself, Ryan Miller was a driving force behind much of the team's success last year and yet this year, he looks downright awful at times. Two of the four goals that Miller gave up were squarely on his shoulders and were goals that he stops or doesn't even allow to happen last year. He looks like he is pressing way too much at times and then sitting back on his heels and finds himself out of position other times. With the Burmistrov goal, the puck slid through five hole from an odd angle in the slot. On the Bergfors goal, it was Miller who screwed up the puck behind the net that gave it to the Thrashers. Miller needs to sit out the game against the Stars and see if Lalime can make the plays that are missing in net.
For those of you that missed the game, the game highlights are after the jump.