Craig Rivet is still livin' the dream … provided the dream is signing with the ECHL Elmira Jackels after having captained the Buffalo Sabres one year earlier. Here's Rivet, meeting the one microphone media this morning:
From the Jackals:
The Elmira Jackals have signed former Buffalo Sabres captain and longtime NHL defenseman Craig Rivet to a standard player contract, the team announced on Monday. Rivet is expected to be in the Jackals' lineup on Friday night at First Arena when they host the Trenton Titans in the 2011-12 season opener.
In 923 career NHL games, Rivet has scored 50 goals and added 187 assists for 237 points.
Rivet, who most recently skated with the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second half of 2010-11, spent the majority of the last three seasons with the Sabres, serving as the team's captain during his entire stint with the club beginning in 2008-09. In 165 games with Buffalo, Rivet posted four goals and 38 assists for 42 points.
Born in 1974, Rivet is the oldest player on the roster. To put that in further perspective: The youngest player on the Jackals was born in Nov. 1990. It was nearly a mathematical and biological possibility that Rivet could have been older than a teammate's parents. That's outright Cheliosian.
Said Coach Pat Bingham:
"Any time a player like Craig wants to play for your team, you welcome him with open arms and that's what we've done. A player that's played at the highest levels for long as he has, I think it's pretty hard to walk away from the game. He loves it. And you can tell by the look on his face and the way he talks about coming to the rink."
Rivet's going to get a lot of "woe is him" and ridicule for this demotion, but you know what? Good on him.
He's nowhere near the player he used to be, last season was a nightmare, his stock dropped faster than Bank of America. Does he want to be in the ECHL? Of course not; the primary objective for everyone in the ECHL is to one day not be in the ECHL any longer. But he's going to have a chance to play in Upstate New York and perhaps transition into something new for his hockey career, saying, "It's exciting for me to be here and further my career, and be on the ice and help these guys."
It's a fall from grace, but we can't help but respect someone trying to be proactive about it.