Leadership doesnt always go hand in hand with individual success and statistical achievement. Think former Buffalo Sabres captain Michael Peca. He wasnt a superstar like Mike Modano or Steve Yzermanhis role was different. He was there to represent a team, a style and a city.
The Sabres of the late 1990s were about playing tough and keeping the leagues best players off the board. Dominik Hasek got the credit
and he probably deserved every bit of it. But Pecas jobto be on the ice every time a scorer like Modano was and keep him away from the netwas integral to the teams success. Peca wasnt a sexy captain, he wasnt part of the NHLs marketing campaign and he certainly didnt appear in any cologne commercials. He was the type of captain who earned respect by hitting, blocking shots and sacrificing his body.
Peca having the C on his jersey probably didnt affect his productivity, and with Hasek, the Sabres probably would have made the playoffs had Peca not been captain. But Pecas captaincy gave the team identity. His scarred face was perfect to be the face of the Sabres franchise. Theres nothing wrong with picking Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby as your captain, of course. In their case, the C is about selling their brand. But the Sabres require a Buffalo guy, someone who the city can relate to and embrace.
Current Sabres captain Craig Rivet wasnt a bad choice at the time. The former Montreal Canadiens defenseman was coming off a solid season with the San Jose Sharks and was considered a veteran leader who fit all the cliches generally assigned to a wily old tough-guy. He was gritty, hard-nosed, played smart and so on. He was worth $3.5 million to the Buffalo Sabres to be the leader theyd searched for after letting Chris Drury go to the New York Rangers.