In wake of the first 14 games of the NHL season, I wanted to let you know why the Sabres will not win the Stanley Cup this year. No, this isn't because they are 3-9-2 through the first 14, it is because they are missing the one thing every Stanley Cup team has had over the past 8 years. A Captain. No, I'm not talking about a Craig Rivet, Stu Barnes or rotating the thing every month (which was the dumbest thing ever, but I knew why Ruff did it).
Look at the past 8 Stanley Cup Champions and their captains.
2010 - 'Hawks - Jonathan Toews
2009 - Pens - Sidney Crosby
2008 - Red Wings - Nick Lidstrom
2007 - Ducks - Scott Neidermayer
2006 - 'Canes - Rod Brind'amour
2005 - LOCKOUT
2004 - Lightning - Martin St. Louis
2003 - Devils - Scott Stevens
Now look at all the Captains, especially the last 4 years (2006 you can sub Drury/Briere because the Sabres would have won the Cup if 4 of the 6 defenseman didn't get hurt). What do they all have in common? They are the teams best player, they play the most minutes, they play the most minutes, they play all 3 phases of the game. They are the leader on the ice & off the ice.
That being said, Craig Rivet doesn't fit in all those categories. Hell, he even got stratched twice already this year. They aren't going to win when their "leader" is watching from a press box or getting beat time & time again by 3rd line players. You know that saying about good teams playing down to weaker opponents? I think the Sabres are "playing down" to their captain, thus the 3-9-2 record.
How to fix this? Trade Rivet and put the "C" on someone else. Some of the canidates? Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy, or Jason Pominville. Those are the three on the team that most fit the citeria. Personally, I would go to Vanek or Roy. Pommers is my favorite Sabre and has been since he became a Sabre, but I think if you put the C on Vanek, he would flourish with it. He would feel important, have a purpose and he would go nuts. I'm saying 100 points. Roy would be the same way. Pommers will give you all he has every shift, every game. He's proved that over the last 5 plus years. Putting the C on Goose, Hecht, or Grier would get the team no where. While they are all deserving of it, it just doesn't work like that in the NHL. Name the last Stanley Cup winning team that had a average, 3rd line player as their captain, besides the 'Canes, they were a fluke.
Wanna fix the Sabres? Start with the letters.