Cory Schneider returns to Vancouver tonight, he's starting, and his arrival seems a little late... he'll also be on the wrong bench.
It still seems like he's ours, doesn't it? Doesn't he still seem like a Canuck? Seeing him in New Jersey Devil colours, it feels like an affair in the middle of something more serious. Like he's going to just come back sooner rather than later, saying we're all family and nothing can break family. So, this is how Walter White felt watching Skyler parade around with Ted Beneke in Breaking Bad.
Schneider was, of course, dealt to the turnpike during the first round of June's NHL Entry Draft, just before the Canucks used their new No. 9 pick to select London Knights star Bo Horvat.
A year earlier, Schneider had signed a three-year, $12 million deal with the Canucks, and Roberto Luongo's exodus seemed imminent... every day for 365 days.
"We knew it was always a possibility," Schneider said of the trade, speaking with reporters in Edmonton on Sunday. "When I signed there, without a no-trade (clause)... we never discounted it, my agent and I.
"It's part of the game. Guys get traded."
"You're not gonna get very far holding grudges or being upset about things. You accept it. They were very good to me while I was there. They treated me very well and I owe a lot of where my career is at to that organization, but I'm a part of this organization now. I'm more focused on succeeding here than worrying about Vancouver."
After two (or three) seasons of (friendly) fighting with Luongo over starting time in the Canuck crease, and after seemingly winning the job with .937 and .927 save percentages in his final seasons – including 17 wins and five shutouts in 30 games in 2013 – Schneider now shares his New Jersey duties with legendary goalie Martin Brodeur.
Again, Brodeur could retire – leaving the starting role to Schneider – at any time. This year. Next year. He could leave whenever. But, he hasn't yet, and Schneider's in the middle of a goaltending controversy... again.
"I've learned never to get frustrated, never to get upset," Schneider said Sunday. "It just does nothing but, it's counter-productive. There had to be a resolution one way or another in Vancouver and this is it.
It's exciting to be in a new team, in a new conference, close to home."