The Instigator Podcast 5.25 – The Jack Attack is Back

The Instigator Podcast is back to recap Jack Eichel’s triumphant return to the Sabres lineup and how his play will affect the rest of the roster. Also in this week’s episode: we touch on Dougie Hamilton’s recent trade rumors, the Canada World Junior selection camp roster and even get a special guest appearance from the 2ITB Dog, Bauer.

We have also transferred to a new hosting service with Podbean. So if there are any technical difficulties that you encounter, please don’t hesitate to notify Tyler or myself as we transfer to the new service. You can still subscribe and listen on iTunes or through Google Play as usual, so there are no other changes to be concerned with.

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Crease Crash Course – Goal Support and Lehner Lift Sabres

For the first time since October 30, the Sabres scored more than two goals in a game. And, shocker, they won!

Robin Lehner has caught quite a bit of undeserved flak, partially due to the price paid by Tim Murray to acquire him and partially due to a number of lopsided losses suffered by the Sabres with him in net. As discussed previously in this space, Lehner’s play hadn’t wavered so much as the play in front of him had dwindled. It’s no surprise that Lehner played an impressive game against Calgary and got a win when the team in front of him scored more than one goal.

The game wasn’t without its warts as the Flames scored on a near tap in off a four-on-one rush, a play which Robin Lehner was exposed on something of a poor read. It seemed obvious that he didn’t expect the pass to Mikael Backlund to be as far outside the crease as it was, leaving him to make a desperate attempt of a two-pad stack as he came across the crease. It was a goal that he probably wasn’t going to stop even if he was technically perfect, as he simply needed to cover too much ground as the pass came across the crease.  Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 5.24 – NHL Jersey Talk with Matt Hills of hockeyreviews.ca

In addition to our discussion on Buffalo snapping their losing streak – and offensive impotency – Chris and Tyler spent some time with Matt Hills of hockeyreviews.ca. Matt is a jersey aficionado who spent some time talking counterfeit jerseys with us along with the noticeable drop in quality of retail NHL jerseys in recent years.

We had some data issues with this week’s podcast so some editing was required to make sure the file was set up right. A few pieces wound up being left on the cutting room floor but hopefully the final product isn’t too choppy.

 

Crease Crash Course: Nilsson Shines Against Cup Champs

Anders Nilsson put together another tremendous outing for the Sabres against Pittsburgh on Saturday night. He’s only seen a handful of starts but he’s quickly rounded into form and at least some of the credit needs to go to goalie coach Andrew Allen for putting Nilsson on a track well above his career numbers.

Before we dive into his play from Saturday, there’s one more thing to point out. green-guy

There are plenty of us on Sabres Twitter who complain about the lack of crowd noise and the poor atmosphere at Key Bank Center. So it may seem hypocritical to bemoan someone like this dude who is having a good time at the game. Only, he was obviously only attempting to get attention for himself. He seemed far more interested in being on television than adding to any actual atmosphere as it pertained to the game. Naturally, the Sabres Twitter account gave him all sorts of love since the only function of the account is to talk about how #fun things are regardless of what’s happening on the ice.

So, long story short, don’t be a doofus like the guy in the green suit. Continue reading

Crease Crash Course: Results Not Indicative of Lehner’s Play

For the third-straight game Robin Lehner allowed three or more goals and for the third-straight game Lehner failed to post a save percentage above .910. But I don’t look at his play as a detriment to Buffalo’s record.

Against Tampa on Thursday, Lehner was beaten four times by four very good shots. Perhaps he could have played the Brayden Point goal differently, but I think most reasonable fans would find it hard to peg any of the goals scored by Tampa squarely on Lehner’s shoulders. You can look back at the loss in St. Louis similarly although I don’t necessarily think the same of his performance in New Jersey (where he was still beaten by a number of perfect shots).

The issue with both Buffalo goaltenders this year hasn’t been their play but the play in front of them. Specifically in the offensive zone where the Sabres are providing dreadful goal support for both netminders. Lehner and Nilsson are both getting fewer than two goals per game from their teammates on average with Nilsson’s number at 1.55 after his win on Saturday and Lehner’s at 1.84. Lehner’s number is actually inflated a bit when you consider he was in net against Edmonton and Calgary, games which netted the Sabres nine goals; roughly 30% of Buffalo’s total offense on the year. Continue reading

Crease Crash Course: Reflecting on the Sabres Skid

In the absence of the typical post-game breakdowns from the past week, it seemed best to lump everything together as the Sabres have embarked on a course of failure in virtually every aspect of the game.

As the team’s anemic attack continues on their trend of truly becoming One Buffalo, the goaltenders have been left in the precarious position of attempting to keep the ship afloat. As the last week of games has shown, Buffalo’s tandem hasn’t been able to provide the goaltending needed – read: shutouts – to steal points on a nightly basis.

The Sabres incredible inability to score goals has left them wallowing as they’re left expecting perfect goaltending in order to win games. Buffalo have scored 10 goals in eight November games (1.25 goals per game average) and are averaging exactly one per game over this five game losing streak. That leaves each goaltender with a monumental task of trying to pitch a shutout nearly every night. While both have played well, it hasn’t been well enough to lift the struggling forward and defense groups. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 5.23 – Special Edition Podcast with 716 Sports Podcast

We got together with our friends from the 716 Sports Podcast to discuss all things Sabres this week. The roundtable discussion hit on Buffalo’s scoring woes up front and on the blueline, goaltending and the impressive play from the various prospects recalled from Rochester.

Catch this week’s special episode here or grab it on your phone and go.

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