Happy Birthday Craig Rivet; The Flight 3407 Game
On February 23rd of 2011, a day after Terry Pegula took over the reins as the owner of the Buffalo Sabres, the team cut ties with its captain, Craig Rivet.
Today we’ll focus on two other dates: September 13, (today, and the day Rivet was born in 1974) and February 13, 2009.
Always a class act and reputed leader, Rivet was elected as Sabres captain – by his teammates – immediately after he was acquired from the San Jose Sharks in 2008. Now in 2011, his grit and character would seem to be exactly what the team was looking for, but age and injuries had slowed him down.
A decision had to be made. And for all parties, it was the right one. Rivet was waived, and found one last shot with the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Sabres were able to move on with their season without the distraction of a healthy-scratch captain.
For me, I’ll always remember Rivet for two things. The first is how he manhandled the Sabres forwards when he lined up against us in his earlier years in Montreal. The second is how his incredible leadership and resolve all came together in one incredible moment, on February 13th, 2009.
I swear, that video still brings the water out from behind my eyes. Rivet launched a rocket that found its way into the net (Rivet would be credited with the primary assist on Pominville’s tip in, one of a career high three assists on that night), and the Sabres would go on to find a way to bring a little bit of a fairy tale footnote to that horrible, nightmare of a day in Clarence – Rivet’s own adoptive town.
Craig, enjoy your day. You’ve earned a great one.
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