The new captain of the Buffalo Sabres is (drum roll, please): nobody.
As expected, Sabres coach Rick Dudley Tuesday sent his team out to meet the Hartford Whalers without a captain. In the wake of the deal that sent Mike Foligno and future considerations to Toronto for forward Lou Franceschetti and defenseman Brian Curran, the Sabres kept the captain's 'C' under lock and key.
Mike Ramsey, Dave Andreychuk and Dale Hawerchuk all wore the alternate captain's 'A' on their sweaters Tuesday. Ramsey and Andreychuk had been alternate captains in the past and Hawerchuk was an alternate when Ramsey was out of the lineup with a rib injury. All three are among candidates under consideration to replace Foligno. Andreychuk has worn the 'C' in the past, usually when Foligno was injured.
Dudley Tuesday reiterated his position regarding a new captain, saying he would take the time to discuss the situation with the team and also let the impact of Foligno's leaving settle in before choosing a replacement. Dudley likely will also wait to see if new leadership emerges. In a situation not unlike the one that enveloped the Buffalo Bills when they moved Fred Smerlas, the Sabres are hoping that in the absence of Foligno, other players, who perhaps deferred to the leadership in place, will step up and fill the void.
Among the younger players needed to show leadership and a consistent, every-night effort are Pierre Turgeon, Benoit Hogue and Doug Bodger.
John Tucker, who played on a line with Benoit Hogue and Mikko Makela, said he was surprised to get ice time and said he hoped it was the start of something.
"I've been dressed and scratched from the last two games (prior to Tuesday)," he said. "I don't know what that means. Hopefully they're looking at me as someone who can contribute something, but I don't know. We'll have to wait and see."
Newcomers Lou Franceschetti and Brian Curran saw plenty of ice time. Franceschetti gave a reasonable account of himself (two shots, minus one on the night and some good forechecking). Curran had a fight with Hartford tough guy Ed Kastelic and finished with seven minutes in penalties and was even on the night.
Said Dudley, "We lost a great guy, a great player (Foligno) but we had to do something. We had to get someone with a little grit. We knew that. Gerry (Sabres General Manager Gerry Meehan) made the best deal that was available. We like what we got. So far. It's something we thought we needed in the lineup and we got it."