MISSISSAUGA, CANADA - MAY 29: Nathan Beaulieu #28 of the Saint John Sea Dogs celebrates with the Memorial Cup after the win against the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors in the 2011 CHL Mastercard Memorial Cup final on May 29, 2011 at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Canada. The Sea Dogs defeated the Majors 3-1 to win the Memorial Cup. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
The puck drops Friday night on the 2012 Memorial Cup, and like in recent years, the Buffalo Sabres will have some rooting interest this year too. Sabres' first round pick in 2010 defenseman prospect Mark Pysyk will be captaining the Edmonton Oil in only the first ever Memorial Cup appearance in their five-year history. The schedule for the event can be found here.
The Memorial Cup is a tournament that pits the champions of the three junior Canadian Hockey Leagues (CHL) along with the host team. This year Shawinigan is hosting the tournament, with the home team Cataractes a very long shot to win outright. The Oil Kings are representing the WHL, while London Knights won the OHL and favorites (and defending champions) Saint John Sea Dogs are the reigning QMJHL champions.
Sabres spend a good proportion of their resources scouting the 59-team CHL, and many of the players in the system come through from the junior leagues. A quick look at the rosters of the last few Cup participants contain quite a few Sabres, as well as a bunch of NHL players that have been lighting it up in the league in recent times.