Here an excerpt from a very good article by the Hamilton Spectator writer Steve Milton:
Craig Rivet can see what the Montreal Canadiens have done, because he was a critical part of how they did it.
Just 18 months ago the 34-year-old defenceman was an integral part of the Canadiens’ blue-chip trio on defence. But, with each of Rivet, Andrei Markov and Sheldon Souray approaching free agency, general manager Bob Gainey opted to sign only Markov to a longterm deal, while Rivet was dealt to San Jose at the deadline and Souray walked at the end of the season to Edmonton.
“Bob wanted to go with the younger players who had developed in the minors and showed a lot of promise, guys like Mike Komisarek, Tomas Plekanec and Kostitsyns, guys who are starting to flourish now, and who are becoming the leaders,” marvels Rivet, whose new Buffalo Sabres teammates elected him captain this week.
“I think it all started just after the lockout. There were a lot of teams jockeying for unrestricted free agents, trying to sign all these older players. But Bob went with a younger team.
“And now, they’re absolutely among the top favourites.”