If the National Hockey League and the NHLPA can’t bridge the divide that is keeping the lockout looming, the Buffalo Sabres may not start their season on time. If by the grace of the hockey gods a deal can be struck – December 3rd will make the first time the Toronto Maple Leafs face off against the boys in Blue and Gold.
In unbalanced fashion, this is the only time in the 2012 portion of the schedule the teams are slated to meet, with the game being in Toronto. A Buffalo Sabres home game in January brings the series to two games. The teams then split a pair of home and home games (with some in between). A home game each in March (14th and 19th) and a home game each in April (2nd and 8th) finish the season series.
If a rivalry is what you want, you need look no further than the Buffalo Sabres versus Toronto Maple Leafs games. The invasion of blue and white into First Niagara Center as the average fan flocks to Buffalo from Toronto as their only way to catch a glimpse of their hockey team. With the corporate bug being bit at the Air Canada Centre, putting a second team just North of Toronto seems the way to go for the NHL to increase its popularity in the Buffalo and Toronto market. Yes, the Toronto franchise may not like the sound of the idea, but ask Steve Ott about the thrill of playing in the Northeast division. Ott is excited about playing in a hockey division, visiting the likes of Montreal, Boston, Toronto more than most other teams in the league. Can you imagine if the league put another team in the Northeast corner of the hockey world?
I typically avoid the Toronto games just because it seems as there are more Blue and White fans in the stands than those rooting for the Buffalo Sabres. At the same time, when we beat them its always nice to hear the air get sucked out of the 300 section where they seem to dwell in packs.