We answer listener questions on air, but before we do, we discuss Rocky Wirtz’s outburst at a Blackhawks town hall rally and what the fallout could be for the troubled franchise. We also talk about some of the adaptations being made to the All Star Skills Competition and which Sabre player we think would be the best representative at this year’s All Star Game.
We wrap up the episode with a handful of #AskInstigator questions from our listeners where we discuss offseason acquisitions, the Heritage Classic and where we see Rasmus Dahlin at the end of his current contract.
It’s been a busy week in the NHL and we open this week’s episode with a conversation over Aaron Dell’s suspension and the bind that it has put the Sabres in to with their goaltending. Not only do we discuss how the suspension affects the Sabres but the actions Dell took and if he was deserving of the penalty he received.
Along the way, we touch on the new hirings of Kent Hughes, Patrick Allvin and Émilie Castonguay. The Philadelphia Flyers’ recent exploits were also a topic as the club held a press conference addressing their current struggles and the path forward.
We wrap up with a discussion about Owen Power and Devon Levi’s future once the Olympics wrap up and just how they can fit into the Sabres roster after the Olympics, NHL Trade Deadline and the completion of their respective NCAA seasons.
The Sabres goaltending woes have continued for a second-straight season as the injury bug has bitten the team hard. We discuss the most recent injuries to Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Malcolm Subban and what it means for Buffalo’s outlook. We also discuss Jack Quinn’s NHL debut and the promise he showed in his first game for the Sabres. The show opens with a discussion of Evander Kane’s latest exploits and whether or not the Oilers should be pursuing him as hard as they appear to be.
Peyton Krebs and JJ Peterka are poised to make their Sabres debuts as the team finally gets back to playing after an extended absence due to the league’s COVID influenced pause. We chat about how the pair will factor into the lineup along with another debutant: Alex Tuch. Beyond our excitement with Buffalo’s recent recalls, we also chat about the cancellation of the women’s U18 World Championships, how COVID has impacted the World Juniors and other topics from the past week in the NHL.
The NHL has extended their Christmas holiday break in an attempt to curb the COVID outbreak that has swept through the league. The result of the postponed games officially put the NHL past the breaking point on Olympic participation and the league and player’s association are expected to make a formal announcement on the withdrawal from the 2022 games soon. We close this holiday edition of the show with a couple listener questions on the Sabres potential deadline moves and what the future might hold for Casey Mittelstadt.
COVID outbreaks continue to impact the NHL schedule as this week has seen a number of teams impacted by positive tests and game postponements. We discuss how these most recent outbreaks are affecting the NHL schedule and what influence it may have on the league’s ability to send players to the Olympics. Also on the docket is the impressive play of Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and how he may be influencing Buffalo’s choices in net. Lastly, we touch on the World Junior Championships rosters, the Sabres prospects expected to participate and who we predict to take home gold in this year’s tournament.
Malcolm Subban has been acquired, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has been recalled and there’s still no end in sight for Buffalo’s issues in net. We discuss what options are left to the Sabres as they navigate an injury crisis to their goaltenders and how it could affect the remainder of the season. Along the way we touch on the latest round of firings as Jim Benning and Travis Green are out in Vancouver and Alain Vigneault has been fired by the Flyers.
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It was a huge news week in the NHL as the Montreal Canadiens fired Marc Bergevin, cleaned house with the rest of their front office and brought in Jeff Gorton to head up the hockey department. We discuss everything surrounding the moves and the difficulty in Montreal continuing to maintain hiring French speaking executives and coaches. Elsewhere, the Penguins have new owners in Fenway Sports Group and more COVID cases may just threaten the NHL’s ability to send players to the Olympics.
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The Sabres are off to a rough start at the box office. Ranking last in the NHL in ticket sales by a wide margin. We discuss all of the factors that have led to the Sabres averaging fewer than 8,000 tickets sold per game and debate whether or not they can turn a proverbial corner and push their ticket sales back up above 10,000 or potentially higher. We also touch on the situation playing out with the Omaha Lancers and offer up a brief look at the standings and the teams who have impressed thus far, and those who haven’t.
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After the NHL ended nearly 20 years of Olympic participation at the 2018 PyeongChang games, they’re set to return to the 2022 games. At least for the time being.
The first COVID hiccup of the 2021-22 season has caused the Senators to postpone games and immediately set off alarm bells regarding the NHL’s ability to withdraw from the games should additional postponements occur. How this all proceeds depends on a whole lot of factors no one can predict. The current surge in COVID cases certainly doesn’t bode well for avoiding additional outbreaks and postponements. But there’s no way to know if and when exactly another outbreak could come.
This all puts a cloud of uncertainty around if players will ultimately play in Beijing as it sounds like the league is happy to find any excuse to avoid actual participation in the games. That’s disappointing for anyone who relishes the opportunity to watch the best-on-best tournament and savors the quadrennial event. Whether or not NHL players ultimately make the trip to China for the 22 games won’t be officially determined in January, but it seems likely that if another postponement or two occurs in November or December, the league would pull the plug.
Hopefully it doesn’t come to that and the league’s stars are able to represent their countries once again. A men’s tournament with NHL talent is the best possible outcome for the event and would ideally shed more light on the women’s tournament which will have Canada and the US on another gold medal collision course.
The issues with the NHL at the Olympics are well documented at this point. The league is not shy about advertising their position on the matter, though I can’t help but think their inability to capitalize on their participation has more to do with how they manage the event and less to do with shutting down for a period each Olympic cycle.