The Instigator Podcast 7.13 – Catching up on NHL Expansion

We didn’t get the chance to discuss the big news of last week, the NHL’s expansion to Seattle, so we backtracked a bit in this episode to discuss just what adding a 32nd team means for the NHL and where the league heads from here. Not only do we talk about which cities may be on the league’s radar for relocation now that expansion seems settled for the time being.

Among the expansion topics relevant to Sabres fans, missing 2020 as the expansion puts the Sabres at a slight disadvantage when comparing who they would need to protect in 2021 as opposed to 2021. A slight difference but a difference nonetheless. We also touch on some of the big trade news that hit the wires this week as Elliotte Friedman shed some light on the Sabres plans while Jeremy Rutherford uncorked a doozy as it pertains to the St. Louis Blues.

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A Canada-Team North America Summit Series would be a Gift to the Hockey World

There’s a hint of irony that the orange color used on the Team North America jerseys is referred to as solar red given the team’s supernova-like short but brilliant run at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

What could have been.

Team North America’s stay may have been but they made a lasting impact due, in large part, to their thrilling final game against Team Sweden. If you haven’t read it yet, there’s a terrific oral history of that game written by Craig Custance on The Athletic. It’s a terrific retelling of their final game, the wire-to-wire banger against Sweden and a wonderful reminder of how much fun they added to the tournament.

Despite topping the top team in their group, North America failed to advance to the knockout round of the tournament due to a 4-3 loss to Team Russia that featured nearly as much action as the win over Sweden.

Unfortunately, that loss to Russia deprived the hockey world of any more hockey from the U-23 squad. Including a semi-final matchup with Team Canada. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 6.30 – The Vegas Juggernaut

After a little time off we’re back with a slightly different approach to a Cup Final preview. Given that game one went down the day before we recorded, simply offering up a preview would be dirty pool. So instead we opted to discuss just how difficult this Vegas team is going to be to knock off. While Tyler isn’t as confident as I am that Vegas is fated to win this series, we revisited their roster construction and just what’s working for them as they steam towards a championship. We also hit on the recent signings by the Sabres and how Lawrence Pilut, Victor Olofsson and Rasmus Asplund will affect the team’s pipeline this coming year.

The Instigator Podcast Interview Featuring Rob LaLonde of Buttendz

As a Good Friend of the Pod™ Rob LaLonde basically has an open invite to come on the show and talk hockey and I was really excited to get him back on after he spent the winter traveling to the 2018 Winter Olympics and the Let’s Play Hockey Expo at the Minnesota State Tournament. 

Rob and I discuss a host of topics including the impressive growth of Buttendz around the NHL, how influencer marketing has been such an effective tool for hockey companies like Buttendz, Warrior and others. We also discuss how the sport is growing in new markets like Korea, Japan and China and the work Rob has done with youth teams in those countries.

The Instigator Podcast Interview Featuring Matt Keeler of Just Dishin Hockey

Matt Keeler started Just Dishin Hockey in his dorm at St. John Fisher and has grown the company over the last few years into a full hockey lifestyle clothing brand. We talked about how Just Dishin came to be, the way Matt has grown the company and some plans he has for the future. While discussing some of the challenges he’s faced in finding new partnerships we hit on opportunities for growth within the game of hockey as new nations start to produce talent and the women’s game continues to explode. All of that and more in this edition of The Instigator Interview.

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Early Results are Making Vegas Tough to Bet Against

You’d think the regular season might have taught us something about the Vegas Golden Knights. Thought of as a ragtag bunch of cast-offs which could have been a far more talented team given the players selected in the expansion draft, the Golden Knights promptly defied all odds and even looked like a President’s Trophy candidate for long stretches. 

 They were driven by a number of career-high performances, including a few staggeringly good shooting percentages, that were still widely believed to peter out at some point. So even with all the head turning performances from the regular season, it was still easy to bet against Vegas as they entered the playoffs.

 Questions about their game translating to the postseason, how would they handle a traditionally excellent possession team in their first foray into the playoffs, could the astonishing offensive numbers by their team leaders carry forward? There were a lot of doubters that the Golden Knights could even get out of the first round. All they did was sweep the Kings, shutting them out twice and nearly silencing their offense altogether.  Continue reading