So Lindy has pulled the proverbial wool over our eyes and gave the C to Jason Pomminville. While most of us expected Thomas Vanek to assume the role, I am shocked to see the reaction to this appointment. I have heard several people have a jumping-off-the-bridge mentality saying that, "Once again, the Sabres dropped the ball." I couldn't have felt any more opposite. But before I go any further let me just comment on the players who received the A's.
It is no secret as to why Ruff chose to give the A's to Goose, Roy, Stafford and Vanek. These are the foundation of what was sometimes not so lovingly referred to as the Rat-Packesque "Core" of the team. If we are going to refer to these guys as the foundation of what this franchise is built upon, it is about high time we give them the reins and hold them to complete accountability if this team falters. These are the guys who were given the team when Briere and Drury left. They went through the growing pains in 07 and 08 then began a rise to prominence in 09 and 10 albeit making a rather short appearence on the playoffs. We now have an owner that is willing to supply us with whatever tools we need to built a Stanley Cup franchise. It will be the job of these four guys to be the elder statesmen on the ice and lead the team to victory.
While I will admit I was one of the people who wanted and hoped Vanek to get the C, but if I had a gun to my head and was forced to choose a 1b, it would definitely be Pominville. This certainly makes sense and here is why.
Tyler Myers is too young to carry the burden of wearing the C. We saw the shaky begining and many argued that a sophmore slump was in order. Sure, like the rest of the team, Myers turned on the afterburners after December and righted the ship. But this goes to show that Myers has a little farther to go. He played meaner, he grew larger and smarter. A couple more years of growth we will have that Chris Prongeresque leader on our team. He is my pick to succeed Pominville.
Robyn Regehr was the next person who I heard should have gotten the C. I say no. The Sabres signed a free agent defenseman a couple seasons ago and immediately put the C on him. We all know how that experiment worked out. While we executed one of the biggest turnaround seasons in recent memory last season, we made an absolute mockery of what it meant to be a Captain. We need to restore what it means to be a Sabre. We need to give it to someone who bleeds Blue and Gold, who has been there for the good and bad times. Someone who embodies the team and the city. Regehr is definitely a great guy to have in the lockerroom and we have heard the term off-ice leader used in the past. I believe the acquiring of Regehr was the most crucial transaction of the off season, but to wear the C. I cannot agree to that.
This brings me to Pomminville. He has been one of the most consistent players we have had post-lockout not named Drury or Briere. He always turns on the jets when it matters most, in February and March. He has shown up in the Playoffs and I have never heard the word "coast" when someone mentioned his name. Vanek is our main scorer and possibly the best player on the ice, but Vanek definitely has his fair share of peaks and valleys throughout the season. Derek Roy has continuously had his work ethic questioned in the past and his infamous no-show in the Boston series in 09 was very much publicized. When Hjalmarsson concussed Pominville in the begining of last season, that was a crucial blow to our team and it took us and Pomminville to find our stride until after December to come through. When Roy got injured, the team unified and began our climb to the playoffs. When JVR collided with Pommer in the playoffs and sliced his tendon, we were never the same in that game, and the rest of the series. Sure we lost Connolly which if anything was a blow to our penalty kill, but Pommer will shore that up.
In short, I applaud the decision Ruff made for the C and I applaud even more that we will have one Captain instead of the rotating Captaincy we have done in the past. That being said, LETS GO BUFFALO!!