Off Topic: Thoughts on the New Ghostbusters Flick

Never in my life can I think of the lead up to a movie being so divisive than the lead up to this year’s Ghostbusters release. Even before the trailer release fiasco there were scores of complaints over the movie’s choice to reboot with a female cast which ultimately took a great deal of focus away from the movie itself.

I saw the movie this past weekend and it really wasn’t enjoyable. There were some nice pieces to it but in the end a vast majority of the jokes fell flat and the story itself was a tangled mess that didn’t carry any sort of real connection from the beginning to the end.

Perhaps the biggest challenge Paul Feig faced was simply taking on the task of rebooting Ghostbusters in the first place. It’s a property anchored by a movie that’s truly a cultural icon – it’s on AFI’s Top 100 comedies and was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress. So Feig was going to be fighting an uphill battle with those who were, by default simply going to compare it to the original.

I thought of it almost like if someone wanted to reboot The Godfather by keeping the title, poster art and mob ties but altering the story otherwise. It would be incredibly difficult to evaluate the new property on its own when the specter of the original hung in your mind.

I really did my best to look at it from the scope of a separate movie than that of a story which connects directly to the first two. To Feig’s credit the story itself does a fair bit to distance itself from the originals. Some pieces simply force a comparison (Ecto-1, for example) while plenty of the script keeps this story original, which was key. However, the overall execution that was lacking, in my opinion. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 5.9 – Exploring New NHL Rules

Chris and Tyler tackle some of the most talked about potential rule changes proposed in NHL circles in the spirit of finding more goals and creating more excitement around the league. On the agenda are bigger nets, angling the posts, re-instituting the red line and moving to a three-point standing system.

You can listen to The Instigator Podcast here or by subscribing on iTunes and Stitcher.

Updated: The Rick Martin/Don Edwards Trade Tree

Rick Martin’s trade to Los Angeles gave the Sabres organization roots that are still planted today. The deal can be traced all the way to the acquisition of Ryan O’Reilly and now Dmitri Kulikov. The tree is so in-depth that it actually overlaps with the deal that sent Don Edwards to Calgary.

As you’ll notice, a few branches are closing in on dying off as Dan Bylsma won’t produce any further assets in terms of trade chips and if Jimmy Vesey doesn’t sign in Buffalo he too will close out that end of the tree. However, the trade that sent Ryan Miller and Steve Ott to St. Louis continues to bear fruit. That trade helped spur deals for Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian, Kulikov and the pick that became Rasmus Asplund. Add in the 2017 second round pick obtained from Minnesota and this tree still has plenty of life down the road.

This is the most up-to-date version of the trade tree, updated to include Buffalo’s offseason moves in 2016. Another update will be coming soon to clean up some areas in terms of formatting and clarity.

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The Bills and Sabres Futbol Series Concepts

The Bills and Sabres each offer countless retail options for fans to deck themselves out in on gameday. Between jerseys, workout gear, hoodies, shorts and hats, both teams have everything you could ever want.

But I was brainstorming the other day about how cool various concept jerseys often look and how it would be cool if a team acted on some of the concepts you see floating around the internet. Not just sport specific either, but the crossovers you see like basketball to hockey, football to baseball, etc. ThrowbackName

So as I started doodling I realized the Bills and Sabres could develop a line of apparel – jerseys in this case – which capitalizes on the love design-oriented people have for creating concept jerseys. I dubbed this “line” of apparel the Futbol Series and applied it specifically to the Bills and Sabres. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 5.8 – Gear Talk with Rob LaLonde

Rob LaLonde of Buffalo-based Buttendz joins this week’s podcast to discuss his company’s incredible rubber butt end product and his time paying professionally in the ECHL and AHL.

Catch the Instigator on iTunes and on Stitcher by hitting the links.

Gear Talk: Reviewing Buttendz Hockey Grips

Perhaps it’s because I’ve played goalie longer than I’ve played forward, but I’ve always been very set in my ways when it comes to gear. I’m an unabashed gear nerd but when it comes to how I wear my equipment and what I prefer, there’s really only one way I like to do things.

So when I was given the chance to try out Buttendz – a rubber hockey stick grip – I was skeptical to the feel I’d end up with compared to regular tape. My concern wasn’t related to how my stick handling may be affected – mainly because I don’t have very good hands – but to how the grip would add bulk to the end of my stick. I’m very set in my ways when it comes to how my equipment feels when I’m playing and the idea of adding a thick rubber grip wasn’t high on my list.Untitled

However, I haven’t noticed any sort of difference between the Buttendz Fusion grip I put on my stick and the old, ratty tape butt end I had before. In fact, I have to say I prefer the feel of the Buttendz to any previous taping method I used before.

I went with the Fusion as it was closest to the butt end I typically use. It has a smaller knob on the top and a textured grip section that extends a few inches down the shaft of the stick. Buttendz also offers the Flux and the Twirl which together address just about every type of butt end you may find at the rink.

Oh by the way, Buttendz is a company started and based in Buffalo by Kevin Lonergan and AHL and ECHL veteran Rob LaLonde. So if you weren’t already interested in buying because the product is great, you’re boosting up a Buffalo-based company at the same time. Continue reading

Exploring Buffalo’s Options for Expansion

The last two weeks of action hasn’t just put the Sabres in a better position to contend in the Eastern Conference this season, Tim Murray’s moves have also made his potential expansion moves more obvious.

Entering the offseason the likelihood of Murray adding at least one significant body at forward and perhaps another on the blueline made handicapping Buffalo’s expansion options difficult. There were too many holes and too many question marks to nail down throughout the summer. Now that Kyle Okposo and Dmitri Kulikov are officially Sabres, pinning down exactly who Tim Murray will protect is a little bit easier.

Vegas’ selections will become official on June 21 of next summer although with their choices being made on the 20th you can probably count on hearing a few leaks ahead of time. The rules have found their way into the public’s hands as the process progressed and if you aren’t already familiar with the NHL Expansion Draft rules, you can find them here.

For the most part, the Sabres are in a very advantageous position heading into next summer’s expansion draft. The exemption of first and second year pros means the likes of Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart won’t need to be exposed. This concession actually rules out over a half-dozen forwards who are under contract with the Sabres moving forward, a significant number which provides flexibility when it comes to the players who will be eligible to be selected. Continue reading