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Food Truck Tuesday Needs more Space

July 30, 2014

Food Truck Tuesday is awesome.

Food Truck Tuesday is awesome.

Food Truck Tuesday is awesome.

Food Truck Tuesday really is awesome. It’s one of the coolest things Buffalo has going on in the summertime. However, it’s quickly outgrown the space it occupies in Larkin Square and I wonder what the result will be if something isn’t done to address the layout of the weekly event.

The sole issue at hand is simply that too many people want to be down in Larkinville to enjoy great food and sunny Tuesday evenings in the summer. But the popularity has resulted in massive crowds that not only create massive lines at many trucks but also a sardine-like experience in every other portion of the square. Next summer’s iteration will need to find some sort of plan to help disperse the crowd. Read more…

Two in the Box is on Fancred

July 23, 2014

Two in the Box has recently become the first verified Sabres account on the sport social networking application, Fancred. You’ll be able to follow along with updates on new posts and the occasional comment or thought from the account. The presence on Fancred ought to work nicely with Facebook and Twitter to help promote more conversation on the topics we’re writing about the Sabres, Bills and other sports.

Signing up for Fancred is simple and it opens up a convenient, informative feed about all your favorite teams and sports. Check out Fancred.com to get signed up today.

Reserving green space and public access to the Outer Harbor is key

July 22, 2014

Things have shaped up over the last few months around Buffalo’s waterfront. Approximately a year removed from a relative low point in construction and planning – punctuated by the removal of Pike Construction from the Aud site – things have hit a definitive upswing.

The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation has recently taken control of Outer Harbor land and are currently working to identify the proper direction for the property. The public hearings on the land appear to reflect the desire for park space to occupy most, if not all of the ECHDC-held land. As someone who has longed to see true progress along the waterfront in the form of a mixed-use, entertainment district I feel that this seems like a terrific way to go for the Outer Harbor.

If the Outer Harbor was kept as green space that maximized public access thanks to the acres and acres of land, the Inner Harbor and Canalside could be left to grow as the entertainment district it’s been slated to become since the first drafts of the master plan were laid out. A relationship of public access and green space along the Outer Harbor and mixed-use development on the Inner Harbor would not only appease nearly every sector of the public, but would also allow the ECHDC to keep their focus on each topic without being spread thin.

Of course, that means that the Outer Harbor is indeed pegged to become a sterling waterfront park. It seems doubtful that the Outer Harbor is used for a football stadium, residential development or any other sort of large development. This is a space that is already dominated by a number of linked green spaces that could be further enhanced if the space was enhanced further. Read more…

Clever contract manuvering gives Murray flexibility

July 18, 2014

The Buffalo Sabres’ dismal 52-point campaign in 2013-14 was punctuated by a historically bad offensive output that put the team nearly 40 goals behind the next closest club and well below the 200-goal plateau.

It was a campaign that brought about the long overdue firing of Darcy Regier, the introduction of Tim Murray along with the groundwork to select Sam Reinhart second overall at this year’s entry draft. The selection of Reinhart set off a multitude of signings and roster moves that has the Sabres in a much different position than they were entering last year’s training camp.

After setting the table during his first trade deadline as a general manager, Murray went about a wide-ranging reshaping of the roster via buyouts and free agency. His moves will certainly make the Sabres a more entertaining and competitive club heading into next season. While the team may remain a bad bet as they work towards a shot at Connor McDavid, the new acquisitions ought to provide those looking at NHL betting lines a little more pause when considering a contest featuring the Sabres.William hill’s betting accumulator is a terrific site to look at if you’re considering a bet on an NHL game.

Locking up Tyler Ennis for five years gives Murray and the Sabres just five players with deals that stretch beyond four years while every other player under contract is locked up for three or fewer years. Two of those long contracts belong to Tyler Myers and Cody Hodgson, two players inked by the previous regime; meaning Murray actually inherited a pair of the few contracts that could be considered challenging to move.

Murray has repeatedly said that he doesn’t want this to be a lengthy rebuild and his actions this summer certainly indicate that it won’t be. While Ennis is under contract for five years, his $4.6 million cap hit is very manageable (especially should the cap continue to rise) and will be easy to move should the club reach a point that Ennis isn’t serving as a vital cog. Only having four other players whose contracts extend to the 2017-18 season or beyond means that Murray will have plenty of flexibility in the coming seasons to maneuver under the cap. Read more…

Connecting the dots between Hofbrauhaus and Canalside

July 17, 2014

It’s been a long time since this much news has come out about Canalside in such a short period of time. Aside from one small announcement that ECHDC will be waiting to develop the north portion of the Aud Block it’s been all great news for the epicenter of Buffalo’s waterfront development.

The building on the right will be bringing a beer garden to Canalside within the next year and it might just be the home of the previously announced Hofbrauhaus.

Today’s news included a report that Pizza Plant will be occupying the ground floor retail space in One Canalside and adding another food and entertainment option to the area around Canalside and the arena. The best part of that news is that there’s potential to see Pizza Plant open and operating right around the same time that HARBORCENTER and (716) open their doors.

Another report indicated that Pizza Plant and (716) will have company along Washington Street as Benderson has begun to work on developing a yet to be unnamed beer garden for the South Block. The Buffalo News report says the beer garden is at least a year away, which would probably slate it for a late-2015 opening. Read more…

Finding a home for concerts along Buffalo’s Outer and Inner Harbor

July 17, 2014

If there’s one summer entertainment option that Buffalo lacks as compared to similar cities it’s an actual concert venue. The stage setup at Canalside makes for a great setting for concerts, but the temporary status makes for an underwhelming venue. The same can be said for the Outer Harbor stage, which has drawn big names but lacks amenities.

At some point in the near future there should be active construction on a number of the parcels at Canalside. When that process begins it will spell the end for the temporary stage and the current set up along the Wharf. Additionally, with the wheels in motion to formulate a master plan for the Outer Harbor State Park, there could be a possibility that the Outer Harbor Concert series needs to relocate.

One way or another, both current sites are potentially in line to be nudged out of their locations due to future development plans. There’s much more flexibility with the Outer Harbor given that there’s no clear direction on how the park land will be developed and the massive amount of space can and should allow for a proper amphitheater to be included in the plans.

Look no further than the concert space at Millennium Park in Chicago for a guideline on this project. While Buffalo’s version doesn’t need to be nearly as big, something that can serve as a real venue as part of the Outer Harbor project should be part of the plans.

Conceivably a slightly larger venue on the Outer Harbor and a scaled down version near the Inner Harbor could co-exist. The two entities work in unison now so it shouldn’t be a stretch to think that a big venue for large acts can settle on the Outer Harbor while a smaller, but still permanent, stage could be built near Canalside. If you’re looking for a comparable to what I envision for the Canalside venue, check out Nautica Pavilion or Stage AE.

That particular point (using those two venues as an example for Canalside) is a point that I’ve harped on ad nauseum, so I don’t wish to linger on finding a parcel within Canalside’s footprint for such a project. One idea that recently came to me was using the land along the Outer Harbor that’s just across the river from Canalside. Use of the land would be nearly entirely reliant upon the completion of the proposed Outer Harbor Bridge, but it would also solve the problem of the future space problem across the way. Read more…

Double Minors: 2014 Sabres Development Camp scrimmage

July 16, 2014

The Sabres annual prospect’s scrimmage came and went last night with a sloppy 5-1 win for Team White.

In a slight change from recent years the scrimmage was held early in the week and the results on the ice reflected that change. With only two ice sessions as a group, the majority of the prospects struggled to find chemistry in a game setting. While the players with more developmental and professional experience stood out for obvious reasons, there were very few true standouts simply based on the disjointed nature of the game that took over at times.

There were some obvious bright spots as one might expect in a six-goal game although a majority of the scoring happened to be done by undrafted camp invites while the organization’s prospects contributed in other ways.

Two of the most obvious standouts were Nikita Zadorov and Rasmus Ristolainen. The two towering defensemen were split between the two squads but they were certainly noticeable when they were on the ice. Zadorov was very active joining the rush and even chipped in with an assist as his booming slapshot caught the end boards and wound up on Jerome Leduc’s tape for a tap in to open the scoring.

Zadorov’s game appeared measured to me as he was picking his spots and recovering well when he joined the rush. He might need to practice a bit more discretion at times but he continued to display the active style that has made him such an attractive prospect. Furthermore, his physical game wasn’t lacking throughout the scrimmage.

Ristolainen was as steady as you might expect a player who split the year between Buffalo and Rochester despite being fresh out of the draft. Since both teams had only five defensemen on their roster the minutes piled up for each and Ristolainen was certainly a beneficiary of that. I think he is a safe bet to pencil into a top-six spot entering training camp as his second professional season is set to begin.

The biggest star of last night’s scrimmage didn’t even see the ice after the halfway mark of the second period. Linus Ullmark was far and away the most impressive goaltender of the four who dressed last night. Read more…

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