Now that the 2008-09 NHL hockey season is officially under way, Sabres fans may have noticed a new face on the blue line: veteran defenseman and captain Craig Rivet. A native of Ontario, he is in his 13th NHL season, after playing for the Montreal Canadiens and San Jose Sharks.
NeXt: At what age did you start playing hockey?
Rivet: I started playing when I was around 6 years old
NeXt: When did you realize you wanted to be in the NHL?
Rivet: I always thought about it, but probably when I was around 19. I was playing in Kingston and that's when it really sank in that I wanted to be an NHL player
NeXt: What are your favorite memories of playing hockey as a kid?
Rivet: Just how much I always enjoyed playing. There were a lot of outdoor rinks that I played on which were always fun to be on. Just learning and playing as much as I could.
NeXt: Were there any coaches, friends, or family members who said, "You'll never make it to the NHL"?
Rivet: No, everyone was always very positive and helpful growing up. Whatever I wanted to do, I always had that support from friends and family.
NeXt: Who was your favorite hockey player when you were a kid?
Rivet: I would have to say the two players that I always liked growing up were Paul Coffey and Scott Stevens. They both were very different players, one very offensive as a d-man and the other a tough defensive presence. The two of them were always fun to watch.
NeXt: What was your most embarrassing moment in the NHL?
Rivet: I have way too many to bring up!
NeXt: Do you have any pregame rituals or superstitions?
Rivet: Also, way too many to list ... but I would have to say my pregame routine when I arrive at the rink. I always go in early and check my gear. When I start to put it on, I always put a towel under my feet and dress the same way every time I put my gear on for a game.
NeXt: What is the strangest ritual or superstition you have ever come across?
Rivet: Probably Aaron Downey and his pregame routine. He used to do a part yoga, part work-out, part karate thing ... It was totally off the wall.
NeXt: What is your favorite city for away games?
Rivet: Probably Dallas. Just a good place to go and play a game
NeXt: What was it like to play with Brian Campbell in San Jose?
Rivet: He is a good player. Creative and very offensive-minded.
NeXt: Who are you looking forward to playing with in Buffalo?
Rivet: Not really anyone in particular. I'm excited for what our group will be able to do.
NeXt: What do you think of the fans in Buffalo?
Rivet: They have been awesome. It's amazing to see already how much the fans and the city love their teams, especially the Sabres.
NeXt: If you could be on a team with any hockey player, past or present, who would it be and why?
Rivet: Probably with Wayne Gretzky, because he is one of the greatest to ever play. That simple.
NeXt: Do you have any advice for kids who are starting to play hockey or want to be in the NHL?
Rivet: Have fun, be patient, practice and realize that there are always going to be a ton of ups and downs in the game.
Sarah Michel is a junior at Maryvale.