It was clear last year that a matchup between Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo was highly likely in the 2013-14 season. What was unexpected was that Schneider, and not Luongo, would be the one returning to Vancouver to face his former team.
Following a trade with the New Jersey Devils at last June's draft, manager Mike Gillis finally put to rest the Great Vancouver Goalie Debate, when he received the No. 9 overall selection (which eventually became forward Bo Horvat of the London Knights) in exchange for Schneider.
On Tuesday night, Schneider returns to Vancouver to face his former club and his close friend, Luongo.
Besides the drama surrounding where Luongo would land, the most compelling element of the story was the relationship between the two goaltenders. Seemingly forced into an unwanted situation, the two players made the best of an awkward circumstance and supported one another to the very end.
The most identifiable moment came in a segment with TSN's James Duthie, where the two players made light of their competition:
"I am obviously keeping tabs on him and seeing how he is doing," Schneider told reporters at Rexall Place, where the Devils met the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night. "You don't root for many guys outside your team, but he is a guy that I hope the best for just because of the kind of player and person he is. He is someone I think is easy to root for. Not on Tuesday night. But again, we are still friendly and we try to support each other."
Luongo expressed a similar sentiment:
"We're good friends," he said. "Throughout this ordeal in the summertime we were always in touch, just to see what is going on and that kind of stuff and even though we are on different teams we still support each other. So that's nice."
Schneider will be appearing in his second game with the Devils, coming off a 3-0 loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins where he registered an .857 save percentage. Luongo also has a 3.00 goals-against average with a .897 save percentage in two appearances.
Tuesday night's game is scheduled for 10 p.m. ET and will be televised on the NHL Network in the United States and TSN in Canada.