If the Buffalo Sabres are going to be a tougher hockey team to play against, the Thanksgiving Holiday 2012 should prove to be a great time for the Sabres to get fat on points. Heading into the short Thanksgiving break from hockey, the Buffalo Sabres play the Columbus Blue Jackets. Coming out of the break, the Buffalo Sabres will open up their four game series against the New York Islanders.
The next opponent for the Buffalo Sabres that we have not discussed yet is the conference displaced Winnipeg Jets. In their first season away from Atlanta, the Jets gave the Buffalo Sabres fits last year, winning all but one game. The Buffalo Sabres managed to get three points out of a possible eight – with two of the contests going into overtime.
The Sabres are going to have to dominate the fringe or bottom teams a lot better if they are hoping to secure themselves a bid in the final eight teams of the Eastern Conference.
While the first contest between the Jets and Sabres falls shortly after Thanksgiving (in Buffalo on November 27th) the second contest, this one in Winnipeg falls shortly after the Christmas break on Saturday December 29th.
Games against the Winnipeg Jets will bookend the schedule for the Buffalo Sabres, as they don’t face the cross country Eastern Conference foes until March 21st in Buffalo. The Jets will also be the last away game for the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday April 9th.
While the labor talks will resume on Tuesday in Toronto, the main topics have been player safety and length of training camp, on top of how to split a penny. Will the topic of realignment come up? It has to be costly for the Winnipeg Jets to constantly travel across the Mississippi River to play its opponents. No doubt that Detroit, Nashville, and Columbus wouldn’t mind seeing their travel burden lessened as a result of the new CBA reshaping the NHL.
With the honeymoon over for Jets fans – the organization has to put up or shut-up. No doubt the NHL has its microscope on the franchise. Having two failed franchises in Atlanta is a black mark on the league, to do it twice wrong in Winnipeg would suck even more. The Jets have to turn their organization into a winning formula, or they will start to see the seats at the MTS Centre start to empty out.