Scouting the Amerks – DMB, Bailey and Baptiste on the Slate

A 2017 playoff run is looking more and more like a pipe dream every day. The Amerks dropped two out of three this week, including both home games against the Wolf Pack and Penguins.  The two points they gained in Toronto were crucial, but Rochester still sits three points behind Utica for the last playoff spot.

Even though Tyler Ennis has returned to game action, organizational depth is still a huge obstacle the Amerks must navigate going forward. The amount of roster moves within the organization has massively effected the on ice product lately. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 5.30 – Missing Pieces

Since all we seem to do is jinx the Sabres with most of our post-game shows, we figured it would be best to talk about something other than the game that was just played. So Chris and Tyler sit down to see what’s still missing from Buffalo’s rebuild as the season progresses. Most of the conversation hinges on the blueline, which should surprise nobody. Be sure to listen and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play or on another podcast app.

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Tielman’s Plans Have No Place in Canalside

The Canalside life cycle is an interesting animal. Once a windswept parking lot, it has grown to one of the most impressive attractions in Western New York as it inches towards completion. Yet, despite all of the positive momentum, the overall project remains beset by hiccups and delays.

Among the most glaring is the utter lack of permanent development outside of One Canalside (which was already there) and HarborCenter (handled by the city and the Pegulas). The historically aligned, replica canals are a visual marvel but the rest of the area is lagging behind. Make no mistake, the progress that has been made at Canalside is nothing short of impressive as there are signs of truly great things on the horizon. The warts are still quite visible, however.

Just today, The Buffalo News indicated that if an expected 2017 groundbreaking for Hofbrauhaus on the East Canal Parcel isn’t met that the German beer haus would move to the Cobblestone District. That’s certainly a win for the Parking Cobblestone District; it’s also a blow for Canalside. Filling the parcel between HarborCenter and One Canalside would add even more density to the already bustling corner while providing a new brick-and-mortar attraction for Canalside visitors to frequent with mixed use space on the second and third floors. By failing to move the underground utility lines, the city and ECHDC have let a key development parcel sit fallow while leaving Hofbrauhaus in a three-year holding pattern. Continue reading

Pipe Dream: It’s Time for a Sabres Skills Competition

Rosters for the 2017 NHL All Star game were announced with far less fanfare than the 2016 version as John Scott’s name was nowhere to be found on the four division squads for the event. While the new three-on-three format injected some much needed life into the weekend, the highlight for many remains the Skills Competition.

The Skills Competition is a perfect made-for-TV event that showcases the incredible skill of NHL players in easily digestible bites. It’s a format that’s been pulled to local events by many NHL clubs on an annual basis, as teams take advantage of longer breaks in the schedule to put on a show for their fans. The Sabres even ran their own in the 90s before putting an end to the practice.

Bringing back the Sabres Skills Competition has been a common request (at least in my personal Sabres Twitter echo chamber) and those cries seemed to intensify last year with the debut of Sabres Showdown. Giving fans the chance to see a Sabres-specific skills competition on TV gave them a glimpse of what could be in store with a ticketed event.

Adding an event like this to the Sabres schedule would accomplish a number of easily attainable goals. It’s an event that can be sold as an open ticket instead of first accommodating season ticket holders, thus extending an opportunity for those fans who don’t typically attend a game to grab a seat at Key Bank Center for Sabres hockey. The tickets themselves would (read: should) be below that of the box office price for a game, again helping to include a segment of the fanbase that typically can’t attend a game in person. These are also best served as early afternoon events, which is tailor-made for #familyfriendly #fun. Lastly, a special event like this could be considered a way that the team is giving back to the fans, another issue that has gained momentum in recent years. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 5.29 – Turning the Corner

With a trifecta of impressive wins under their belt – and another near miss – the Sabres are creating some believers in Western New York. While there’s still work to do, it appears the rest of the team has caught up to the impressive play in goal. Chris and Tyler discuss the goaltending debate despite the lack of an actual goalie controversy while also highlighting the impressive play of Evander Kane, Sam Reinhart and Kyle Okposo, among others. Be sure to listen in here or grab the episode on your mobile device and listen on the go.

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Scouting the Amerks – Nylander Returns and Baptiste Stays Hot

This was a very difficult week for the Amerks without Justin Bailey, Taylor Fedun and Alexander Nylander. Somehow, they were able to gut out overtime wins against the Crunch and the Marlies, taking four points from the three games they played.

Unfortunately Toronto gained three points from the back-to-back home games against Rochester this weekend. Considering the luck they have had when playing three games in as many days, I would consider it a win. The Amerks are still level with the Marlies for the last playoff spot, but Toronto has played two fewer games. Continue reading

2ITB Buffalo Rink Rankings

You don’t need to drive far in Western New York to find a hockey rink. Nearly every large municipality has one and those that don’t are neighbored by at least one or two. As a city with such a rich hockey history there are a number of new and old rinks around Greater Buffalo.

In an attempt to provide insight on all of Buffalo’s rinks, we took it upon ourselves to create the Buffalo Rink Rankings. The below list was compiled using a set of categories to help evaluate and score each rink. The scores were compiled using the feedback of a number of hockey players from around WNY, in an attempt to eliminate any bias that may exist. Each category is scored on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the highest. There are two groups of rankings, one set that focuses on the hockey-specific aspect of each facility (rink quality, locker rooms etc.) and another that focuses on amenities (pro shop, snack bar etc.). These all add up to provide and overall score for each facility, which was a primary factor in the final rankings.

The overall score wasn’t the only factor considered when factoring the final rankings (we’re kind of like the BCS) as some rinks scored higher thanks to certain amenities or outside factors. So in some cases a rink that scored lower still slotted in above higher scoring rinks as we tried to keep the primary focus on the hockey side of things while also giving credit to rinks, like Riverworks, which boast really cool features that don’t directly correlate to the hockey side of things.

So, without further adieu, here are the 2ITB Buffalo Rink Rankings: Continue reading