Sabres Rewind: More Fun in the Defensive Zone

Buffalo’s most recent attempt to string together back-to-back wins fell short with a road home loss to Toronto on Wednesday night. The Sabres allowed three-straight to the Leafs after taking a first period lead and the first two goals were both messy in their own regard.

John Tavares’ tap-in was the product of an effective cycle driven by William Nylander and Buffalo’s continued struggles picking up coverage in the defensive zone. Far too often this season, the Sabres have gotten loose in their coverage, leading to uncontested shots and tap-ins for their opponents. Their coverage has been so poor at times that opponents managed to not only find a free lane to the net but have teammates sitting open on the back door as well. It’s a problem that’s plagued the Sabres all season and I’m not quite sure if they’ll ever solve the problem unless the coaching staff makes some fundamental changes to their system.

Like with most plays, everything is harmless enough as Nylander picks up the puck behind the net. Sam Reinhart is low in the zone filling the typical center duties, Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner are higher, covering the points, and Rasmus Ristolainen and Marco Scandella each have a man.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Instigator Podcast 7.24 – Filling the Talent Gulf

Our plan this week was to discuss the continued impact poor drafting and generally below average talent has had on the Sabres but we wound up on a Phil Housley tangent for a portion of the episode. Last night’s loss bore all the hallmarks of a team that’s quit on its coach and it seems more and more evident that the only recourse will be to fire Housley sooner rather than later. Though there is reason to believe the Sabres wish for him to be around for another training camp and the start of next season. Between the Housley discussion is a rundown of potential college free agent targets and a look at how first round misses can derail any progress a team is trying to make.

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The Instigator Podcast 7.23 – Dumbfounded by Deployment with Ben Mathewson

Ben Mathewson joins the show this week to discuss the questionable deployment utilized by Phil Housley, the opportunities in front of the coach to optimize his lineup and just what Jason Botterill is doing well (and poorly) in plugging the holes on Buffalo’s roster. On the docket: Casey Nelson’s quality contribution, why they opted not to make more recalls as their slide began, what’s the point of playing Tage Thompson on the fourth line and, yes, Vladimir Sobotka.

You can listen to The Instigator Podcast on most podcast streaming services, including large providers such as iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio and TuneIn and most other third-party podcast streaming apps. You can find links to subscribe and rate the show below:

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Another Extension for the Rick Martin Trade Tree

Over 30 years have passed since Rick Martin was traded to Los Angeles on March 10, 1981 and there are trades being made today which can be traced directly back to that move and the trade of Don Edwards and Richie Dunn a little over a year later.

There’s little sign of this massive trade tree petering out any time soon as acquisitions of picks and prospects over the last couple of years will extend it’s life for at least five more seasons. If not more. The most recent, was the acquisition of Brandon Montour from the Anaheim Ducks. Acquired for Brendan Guhle and a conditional first round pick, the Sabres will part ways with one of the first round picks they acquired from either the San Jose Sharks or St. Louis Blues. Regardless of which pick the Ducks end up with, Montour will slot in as part of long list of players who can be traced back to Martin’s trade.

For those of you who are new to this image, a few quick notes:

  • All logos are era adjusted so stuff your whining about the Slug.
  • The logos next to each draft pick indicate which team ultimately selected that player. Many of the picks were dealt again so the logos are there to indicate the final destination of each pick.
  • This combines the Martin trade tree and Edwards trade tree due to where they overlap (Ryan Miller and Steve Ott going to St. Louis). That deal created a significant branch of the two trees so it made sense to combine the two. No other trade trees are included for the sake of clarity (whatever is left given how deep this goes). There are many other trade trees which intersect with this but including them all would make an already confusing document that much worse. To give some of examples, Craig Muni was acquired in a separate trade prior to being included in the Grosek/Shannon deal. Guhle was selected with a pick acquired in exchange for Thomas Vanek. Nikita Zadorov comes from the Jason Pominville trade tree. You can find other significant trade trees from throughout Sabres history with this link.
  • Feel free to air any other questions or areas of confusion in the comments or via Twitter.

Thomas Vanek Trade Tree Extended by Montour Trade

There’s not a whole lot to love about what came from the original trade of Thomas Vanek but Brandon Montour might finally change that. Brendan Guhle was pretty much the last remaining vestige of the original trade and there’s more life given to this trade tree’s longevity thanks to the acquisition of Montour.

 

 

Sabres Rewind: The Very Bad, No Good Second Period

Things started pretty well for the Sabres in Toronto on Monday night. They carried play throughout the first period and were eventually rewarded with the game’s first goal.

Quick note for this edition. For portions of the play that aren’t ass backwards or super goofy I will keep using comic sans for max comedy. For general highlights or more serious aspects I won’t act like the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers and use a normal font.

They didn’t carry that positive momentum into the second period, however. The Leafs scored three goals in just over two minutes and four total in the period to take a lead they wouldn’t surrender. A couple of the goals were fairly straightforward. John Tavares got a good tip on Jake Muzzin’s point shot – Matt Hunwick could’ve done a better job tying up Tavares on that one – and Auston Matthews cashed in an unfortunate bounce off Evan Rodrigues. The other two goals were tougher to watch.

The first was Freddie Gauthier’s backhand that chased Carter Hutton. This goal wasn’t so much a lapse by any one player on the ice. At the core, it was simply a bigger player utilizing good body position against a smaller one, but it highlights some of the oddities about Buffalo’s defensive zone coverage. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 7.22 – NHL Trade Deadline Breakdown

The bonus extension of the deadline podcast looks at some of the biggest trades that went down at the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline. We look into all of the moves made by the Columbus Blue Jackets and the arms race out West. Specifically the deals made by Nashville, Winnipeg and, of course, Vegas.

You can listen to The Instigator Podcast on most podcast streaming services, including large providers such as iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio and TuneIn and most other third-party podcast streaming apps. You can find links to subscribe and rate the show below:

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