The Buffalo Sabres usher out the month of November with a home game against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday November 29th, 2012. This is the only time the Class of 1970 reunites during the 2012-2013 season, save for a possible Stanley Cup Finals between the teams that once fought over Gilbert Perreault during a game of hockey roulette.
Despite the on ice success of the Vancouver Canucks in the past few seasons, you have to go back to January 25th 2010 to find the last time the Buffalo Sabres were unable to beat their expansion year counterparts.
With the thoughts still on the Stanley Cup – there is still a lot to do in Vancouver before the season can unfold.
The Canucks did just sign their first round draft selection Brendan Guance of the Belleville Bulls. He is expected to play the 2012-2013 season in Belleville. Goaltending is an issue in British Columbia as well. Once the proclaimed savior of hockey and number one netminder, Robert Luongo has not been able to deliver as promised. Proving he can win on a large stage happened in the Olympics, when he helped Team Canada to a Gold Medal – he just hasn’t been able to seal the deal in the NHL. Now with Cory Schneider re-signed, it seems like the Canucks have a logjam in the blue paint. You don’t just pay a backup goaltender four million dollars a year to sit on the bench. Luongo is now looking outside of British Columbia to get his hockey on, and could be traded before the season starts. Lucky for the Canucks they may have more time on their hands to find a home for their once top netminder.
The Vancouver Canucks are going to continue to be a force in the National Hockey League for several years. Until they can find the right combination of determination, chemistry, and win mentality, they could be stuck looking at the wrong end of a handshake line for many years to come.
The Buffalo Sabres on the other hand have not been close to a handshake line of significance for several seasons, and want to be on the winning side of the last handshake of the season.
Tune in tomorrow as we start looking at the December portion of the schedule and continue on until we reach the season.