Instigator Podcast – Episode 36: After Babcock

While Mike Babcock decided to head to Toronto, the Sabres aren’t left without options. We discuss the impact Babcock’s decision had on the Sabres and the candidates they may pursue moving forward.

Instigator Podcast Episode 36 - After Babcock by Instigator_Podcast on Mixcloud

Sabres are hardly short on candidates in the wake of Babcock’s decision

Despite multiple reports that indicated the Sabres were on the verge of landing the biggest fish in the free agent coaching pond, Mike Babcock chose to take his talents to Toronto after a long, drawn out search process.

This leaves the Sabres standing at the altar without a coach for the time being as their bride-to-be sets off to the Great White North. The Sabres aren’t without options, however. Nor should this be seen as some black eye on the organization as they proceed through the next step of their rebuild.

Landing Babcock would have helped pile credibility onto the organization after two-straight 30th place seasons. Babcock’s presence would have likely chummed the waters for interested free agents while providing the Sabres with a bench boss with a strong winning pedigree. Missing out on him is obviously no small hiccup, but it will hardly derail the path Tim Murray has set the team on.

Luke Richardson is just one of a number of promising young coaches the Sabres can look to.
With a fish this big and stakes as high as they were, it’s easy to present the pros and cons of this argument. A pair of Buffalo News reporters did just that as Mike Harrington and Jerry Sullivan each penned a column regarding Babcock’s decision just hours ago. For what it’s worth, Harrington’s is the only one of the two worth reading.

Although today’s news throws a curve to the coaching search, it’s not as if the Sabres are left without any viable options. There are a host of solid coaching candidates on the market that Tim Murray will almost certainly be taking a closer look at in the coming days.

Names like Dan Bylsma, Peter DeBoer and Paul MacLean along with a host of up-and-coming candidates remain on the open market. There are also a number of coaches with NHL experience serving as assistants or overseas who shouldn’t be discounted. Continue reading

Building Buffalo Podcast – Episode 2

In episode two of the Building Buffalo Podcast, Tom and I discuss the gondola project that has been gaining press and momentum as of late and the need for greater focus on projects throughout the city that need more attention. We also spend some time talking about the negative impact obstructionists have had on progress in WNY and where we’re headed despite the actions of a loud minority.

Building Buffalo Podcast - Episode 2 by Buildingbuffalopodcast on Mixcloud

 

https://www.mixcloud.com/BuildingBuffaloPodcast/building-buffalo-podcast-episode-2/

 

 

ECHDC should consider art to compliment grain elevator lighting project

Canalside proper isn’t the only area of Buffalo’s waterfront getting dressed up with art. The Connecting Terminal Grain Elevator will be lit up this summer (maybe fall?) as part of Erie Canal Harbor Development Company’s plan to light the grain elevators up and down the Buffalo River.

Exactly when the rest of the elevators will be lit is anyone’s guess, however. After ECHDC approved the original master plan to light the elevators and bridges along the river, it was later announced that only the Connecting Terminal Elevator would be getting the lighting treatment which was disappointing despite the impressive capabilities that the project will have.

While we wait to see if ECHDC will change their course thanks to the Ohio Street streetscape project and increased interest in that corridor, the Connecting Terminal will be lit this year. Original reports pointed to July 4th as the unveiling date but it is expected to be pushed closer to the fall at this point.

It’s about time that the Connecting Terminal Elevator was list. It’s a hulking figure along the waterfront and it needs to be changed from a looming eyesore into something that compliments the surrounding area. One thing I wish was considered was adorning the face of the elevator (on both sides) with a large mural as opposed to simply using the lighting project.

The lighting project will be a terrific installation and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing the execution. But with sunset so late in the day in the summertime and the expected operating hours of the lighting itself being somewhat limited (especially in the summer months), the elevator will still be standing as nothing more than a grey monolith for most of the day.

Why not paint a mural on it that can be enjoyed during the day and at night? Continue reading

Silent Poets is a step forward for Canalside

Public art will continue to grow around Canalside this summer as Buffalo’s newest installation was put in yesterday.

Photo courtesy of Buffalo Rising.

Silent Poets will reside at Canalside until late 2016, joining the ever popular Shark Girl and other public art pieces in the downtown park district. Meanwhile, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Company continues to inch towards completion of the lighting project on the Connecting Terminal Grain Elevator across the river.

After getting a chance to cruise by Silent Poets last night, I have to say they’re incredibly impressive. The addition of Silent Poets is a definitive step forward for Canalside as the area is still lacking any semblance of permanence as it pertains to activities and attractions. This new piece of art is also a much larger statement when compared to Shark Girl, which has its own level of whimsy but certainly isn’t the jaw-dropping installation that Canalside needs.

Shark Girl certainly has her own rightful place in the Canalside landscape. In fact, her new home near the re-watered, historically aligned canals is perfect. The sculpture is nestled in nicely in what should be a highly trafficked area which should eventually allow Shark Girl to be a tremendous compliment to the greater Aud Block development. We just aren’t there yet, which is why so much of the hubbub regarding her installation rubbed the wrong way.

Many of Canalside’s parcels are set for development (despite how it looks), which means they’re hardly available for a massive installation like Millennium Park’s Cloud Gate. That being said, the goal should be to provide a permanent installation that draws crowds no matter what the weather is like. As impressive as Silent Poets is, I’m not sure it does the trick. Continue reading

More thoughts on the Sabres solution in goal

A short while ago I took a deep dive into the route the Sabres might take when it comes to their goaltending next season. I settled on the trade route being my preferred option for Sabres’ GM Tim Murray to take.

Buffalo’s goaltending pipeline isn’t too shabby with Linus Ullmark set to make his North American debut this fall alongside established farmhand, Andrey Makarov. Cal Petersen is still a couple years away from a professional contract but was impressive as a freshman at Notre Dame while 2014 draft pick Jonas Johansson’s big frame makes him an intriguing prospect.

The situation above those players, however, is quite murky. Chad Johnson is the only goaltender with more than one game of NHL experience under contact and he slots in as a backup at best. Since posting my thoughts on the goaltenders (linked above), the Sabres have fallen out of the Matt O’Connor sweepstakes and Matt Hackett’s knee injury prevented him from playing enough games to retain restricted free agent status.

With O’Connor out of the picture and Hackett likely to join him, Murray should at least have a better idea of who will be in the crease in Rochester this season. The Amerks could stand to have a veteran AHL presence in the locker room and on the ice, but we’ll have to see who is available for that type of role.

My opinion on Murray’s direction remains unchanged (like the Browns). The best route, in my opinion, is to acquire a young goaltender who has shown he’s capable of growing into a dependable starter in the league. Even with Ullmark showing impressive chops and Petersen growing into a fine prospect, the Sabres need more stability at the top of their depth chart. Stability that also provides them with an outlook beyond the next few seasons. Continue reading