The Instigator Podcast Interview – Featuring NFL Cleat Customizer Polo Kerber

This week’s Instigator Interview features Buffalo’s own Polo Kerber of Sole High. Sole High’s popularity has skyrocketed as Polo and his team have become the go-to for custom cleats throughout the NFL. We chat about the customization process, some of Sole High’s more notable NFL clients and an upcoming project they’ve worked on with Alex Ovechkin.

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The Instigator Podcast Interview – Featuring Mike Salerno of Topps NHL Skate

This edition of The Instigator Interview features Mike Salerno of Topps NHL Skate. Mike oversees the free, digital NHL trading card app that is part of the Topps trading card family. He joins Chris to discuss the unique features of the app, the future of trading cards and what might be on the horizon for the Topps app. We thank Mike for taking the time to chat about such an enjoyable app.

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.

 

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

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

Expansion Rules will Create Crisis for some GMs

With news breaking this week that the NHL and NHLPA have agreed on the structure for  a future expansion draft, the maneuvering and preparations across the league can begin in earnest.

Reaching an agreement on no movement and no trade clauses was among the most important unanswered questions surrounding the way teams will form their protected lists. With the potential for an expansion draft taking place as early as next summer, the need for that determination was obviously important.

One position that will get plenty of focus will be between the pipes. As there is only one option for protecting goaltenders, there is a near guarantee that a pair of solid goaltenders are headed to Vegas should a draft take place next summer.

The requirement that no movement clauses must be protected could put pressure on a number of general managers to make a move this summer – or prior to next year’s deadline – to ensure they aren’t losing a goaltending asset for nothing. Continue reading