Team USA’s Identity Crisis Starts at the Top

It was the game that has spawned thousands of think pieces. As the US fell in uninspiring fashion to the Canadians last night, their World Cup failure raised questions about the team’s roster construction yet again.

While the 4-2 loss to Canada may have been expected, the previous shutout loss to Team Europe helped to stir memories of the pop-gun offensive efforts against Canada and Finland at the 2014 Sochi games. In fact, TJ Oshie’s goal late in the third period against Canada was the first scored by a US forward in 254:02; a streak that extends to Team USA’s preliminary round win against Slovenia in 2014. Only Ryan McDonagh’s goal against Canada kept that from being a shutout streak as well.

That is a stunning inability to score from a country seen as one of hockey’s super powers. Of course, the questions about the roster choices didn’t crop up over the past week. The choices made by USA Hockey have been questioned, in one way or another, since the original roster announcement earlier this year. Maybe this should be too surprising, as many of the same names criticized for questionable choices in 2014 – and highlighted by the in-depth, behind the scenes articles chronicling that team’s construction – remained part of the decision making process. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 5.15 – Talking Sabres Prospects Challenge and the World Cup of Hockey

After a short break Tyler and Chris are back with another episode of The Instigator. This week we touch on the Sabres Prospects Challenge and the World Cup of Hockey. We spend quite a bit of time on the early struggles of Team USA and whether or not they’ll find a way to come out of pool play. You can subscribe to The Instigator Podcast on iTunes by clicking this link.

Ranking the World Cup of Hockey Goal Masks

The World Cup of Hockey is right around the corner, finally bringing the international event back to the hockey world after a 12-year absence. In the time between the 2004 event and this year’s World Cup, some major changes have come to the world of goaltending. It’s far easier for goalies to get new customized equipment and turnaround time on new masks is quite short.

As we approach the start of the tournament, every country’s goaltender has had their new gear or helmets released to the public via Twitter, Facebook or otherwise. Let’s take a look at the best and the worst of the World Cup of hockey goal masks (and gear). Continue reading

Tim Murray should not hesitate to move the 2017 First Round Pick

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I just don’t feel quite confident with the prospects of the 2016-2017 Buffalo Sabres being a playoff team. Yet.

Considering the recent arrest of Evander Kane, missing out on Jimmy Vesey, and Rasmus Ristolainen still lacking a contract, there are more than enough possible impediments to Tim Murray’s club breaking its four season playoff drought. Its time for something positive to happen, and what better way to get the team on the right track than to make a trade. I think the Kyle Okposo signing will yield highly positive dividends for Sabres, and his acquisition cements a very formidable top six going into next season (and a scary good top six going into the future), but I do believe that more will be required to make that extra push. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 5.14 – Vesey Breakdown & the Sabres New Tickets

Chris and Tyler are back to discuss Jimmy Vesey’s decision to sign with the New York Rangers along with the reports that Alex Nylander will be likely playing in Rochester this season. We also take some time to discuss the new ticketing policy for the Sabres while also touching on the viewing party for The Tragically Hip’s final show at Larkin this past weekend. Listen to the podcast here or download the episode on iTunes. We’ll be back in a couple of weeks with a new episode previewing the World Cup.

The Instigator Podcast SWAG is here

After receiving some feedback that some Two in the Box or Instigator Podcast swag would be well received, we took the steps to get decals printed adorned with The Instigator Podcast logo.

Whether or not you’re familiar with the logo, it features the lightning bolts and stars from the Buffalo city flag along with Buffalo Sabres blue and gold. You can slap them on water bottles, lap tops, car bumpers or anywhere else you please.Untitled

The decals measure roughly three inches by three inches and will stick on anything. They’re vinyl automotive decals so they’ll stand up to abuse as well. We’re selling the decals for $4 each which will cover any postage necessary to get them sent your way.

If you wish to purchase one send an email to 2intheboxbuffalo@gmail.com or simply tweet to Tyler or Chris and we’ll get you set up. Thanks to everyone for continuing to listen to the podcast and reading the blog.

The Instigator Podcast 5.13 – A New Era at the Stadium Featuring Del Reid of 26 Shirts

Del Reid of 26 Shirts joined the podcast to discuss the new naming rights deal for New Era at the stadium. We also discuss what options the Bills and the Pegulas have when the time comes to either renovate  “The Cap” or build a new stadium. Download and subscribe to The Instigator Podcast on iTunes by following this link.