Derek Roy for Captain of the Buffalo Sabres?1
What does it take to lead?
Last night, Roy donned the “C” for a preseason skate against the Montreal Canadiens. While most eyes (who had access to video of the game) were watching Christian Ehrhoff’s strong debut, Roy was putting up a hell of a game.
Say what you want. It’s not like we know who says what in the locker room, or on the bench. As fans, we all have our opinions on who is a strong character on and off the ice. But we lack insight.
Here’s what we do know:
The Sabres’ last captain, Craig Rivet, was strong in the locker room – voted as captain by his teammates – but he couldn’t follow through on the ice as a healthy scratch. We knew that Chris Drury was a strident and powerful leader, because that information was made very public. He lead in the locker room. He lead on the ice.
Last night, Roy lead on the ice.
After the first period with the “C” on his sweater, Roy had 1 assist, was a +1, had a .667 faceoff percentage (one of the talking points of the Montreal RDS broadcast team during that intermission), and his 5:45 time on ice trailed only Pominville’s 5:55 for forwards.
After the second period, his faceoff percentage dropped to .538 and his points remained the same – though he should have had two more assists as Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville whiffed on gimme chances. (Those two, ironically, are his likely competition for the captaincy.)
At the final buzzer, he had 1 assist, was a +2, .556 on faceoffs, and enjoyed 17:35 of ice time (second in forwards behind Stafford).
His skating was strong. He was in midseason form. It looked like he’d been doing this for ages – well, he has. He’s a part of the core that has been here for years. He knows the system, the coaches, the players, the fans. He knows it all – how the team has lost in recent years, and what it took to win.
He may not be your favorite Sabre, and he may not be as gritty as Rivet or Drury – but hs motor doesn’t stop. He’s the #1 center on a team looking to win it all, and if last year’s point-per-game pace tells us anything, he’s matured on the ice enough to take this team to grand places.
He has what it takes to lead, folks – he puts it all out there on the ice. He’s not the diving rookie that we shook our heads at anymore. He’s grown up into a leader, an example, and a big piece of a Stanley Cup puzzle.
The captaincy has not been guaranteed by Lindy Ruff, yet. But last night, Derek Roy made a strong, strong case for it.
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