The Buffalo Sabres are trying to work their way through a rough patch, and their captain Craig Rivet is among those feeling the pressure.
As the team fell to the Boston Bruins in a 3-2 shootout loss Tuesday night – their fifth straight contest in which they failed to earn the win – the defenseman was limited to a season low 8:58 minutes of ice time. It marked the first time this year that Rivet was benched for an extended period of time during a game.
Head Coach Lindy Ruff said he was simply sticking with the players who were going well that night.
Rivet simply said he has to be better.
“Right now I don’t think I’m playing up to my capabilities,” he said. “I need to be better to help this team. It was an eye-opener last night. I pretty much got sat for most of the game and if I have the opportunity I’m going to be better next game.”
While Ruff was explicit in saying that Rivet would not be taken out of the lineup for Thursday’s match-up against the Carolina Hurricanes, he did say expects a lot more from the Sabres’ leader.
“There have been segments where he’s had a tough time. Last night’s first period was tough on him and [Chris] Butler,” Ruff said. “They had a tough ride, they gave up too many chances and we’re desperate to win a game. The team knows that, they understand. I told you guys last night that we were going to shorten it up and play whoever was going best. At the end of the night I think that’s what got us the point.
“We’ve looked at this team from Day One as that’s their room and you’ve got to hold each other accountable, and it was a tough night... Some players got a lot less ice time than others.”
Rivet isn’t looking anywhere other than himself when it comes to breaking out of the slump, adding that while it’s easy to point fingers, the success will come from hard work.
He did admit to succumbing to some frustration in the second period, however, when he went toe-to-toe with Boston’s Shawn Thornton.
“I wasn’t doing anything else, so when things go rough for you, you have to try and do something to contribute,” Rivet said. “That’s something that I had to try and do.
“We’re battling through a tough time right now and it takes everybody right now to win hockey games. We need to have guys play up to their standard and there are some guys that are, there are some guys that aren’t.
“I’m in that group that needs to be better. I’m going through a tough time right now, but I know the only way to get out of things is to work your way through it and that’s what I’m going to do.