The Instigator Podcast 5.37 – Do the Sabres have a Leadership Problem?

As the Sabres slide further from playoff contention, questions about roster construction, coaching and effort continue to be asked. We sit down this week to discuss rumors of a rift between the players and the coach and even between some of the players. Along the way we chat about how difficult it really is to find solid leadership if it isn’t homegrown.

Who is the Next Captain of the Sabres?

The Sabres have a bunch of questions that need to at least begin to be addressed this offseason and next season. While everyone focuses on the draft and who is going to put the puck in the net for last year’s worst offensive team, many have forgotten that the Sabres are (once again) without a captain.

There are a couple basic things that I believe the organization should (or should not) do when considering who will be the next person to wear the “C”.

First (and most important) is that the next captain must come from in-house. The cons far outweigh the pros when it comes to naming a player who was just acquired as the captain. The most obvious issue is that it places undue pressure on the new player. No matter the age or experience of a player, when someone is traded to a new team, or signs with a new team as a free agent, they want to make a good first impression. On top of trying to fit in with new teammates and a new system on the ice, the player is faced with trying to acclimate to a new city off the ice. Throw in moving a family and all that comes with it into a new town and the player is juggling all he can handle.

Another concern is that naming a player that is new to the team as a captain is an indictment of the leadership qualities (or lack thereof) of your current roster. By giving the captaincy to a newly acquired player you’re basically telling the 23 guys on your roster, “I don’t think any of you are capable enough or ready enough to assume responsibility for this team.” Given the state of the Sabres’ roster, I’d advise against doing that. Continue reading

Who wears the ‘C’?

For the first time since the summer of 2008, the Buffalo Sabres are without a full-time captain. The last captain, Craig Rivet, was waived in February and the Sabres have gone without an official captain since.

Tyler Myers wore a letter for the first time as a Sabres against the Hurricanes on Monday.

As the first puckdrop of the 2011-12 season fast approaches, the organization will need to peg the next man to adorn the ‘C’ soon. To offer a barometer for when an announcement may occur, Rivet was named captain on October 8, 2008. Rivet became the 27th captain in franchise history and it is rather unfortunate to think there have been 27 captains in this team’s history. Twelve earned the honor during the “rotating captaincy” years of 2003-04 and 07-08. Now that idea may be the most preposterous thing I have ever heard of. At the most you should have co-captiains – as they had in 2007-08 with Drury and Briere – but it is a shame to think a professional hockey team would need to rotate the captaincy, there had to be one or two candidates who could have easily filled that role.

Personally, I see four front-runners for this honor. Paul Gaustad, Tyler Myers, Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek. Each have their own pros and cons but are also likely the best candidates to become the 28th captain in Sabres history. With only four players deserving of a look, I am confident that a crime such as a rotation will not occur. Continue reading