The Instigator Podcast Interview – Featuring Goalie Gear Nerd

This is an interview I had been looking forward to for some time. I was joined by Goalie Gear Nerd, one of the most interesting and enjoyable follows on both Twitter and Instagram. Especially if you’re a goalie. We discussed the way he’s grown a massive social media following and what goes into handling that rapid growth. We also dive in on the evolution of goalie equipment in the modern game and just how detailed different goalies can be with their gear.

Two in the Mailbox: Ho-Sang and Potential Sabres Departures

Two in the Mailbox, the (sometimes) weekly mailbag on the Sabres, goalie stuff, Buffalo and anything in between, is back. You can submit to the mailbag using #2ITBmailbag on Twitter or emailing

Scott/@scottymcss – Get you some Ho-Sang? Continue reading

KeyBank Center Upgrades Wishlist

The beginnings of this site go back to the summer of 2010 when I starting tossing random musings together before eventually deciding to stick to sports®. Not long after that the site became dedicated to all things Bills, Sabres, Bandits and Buffalo.

Now it’s pretty much just a Sabres site with the odd Buffalo development story sprinkled in. There are only so many hours in the day, people. One topic I’ve always had a strong opinion on was the need to upgrade and renovate KeyBank Center (and First Niagara Center and HSBC Arena). My first foray into offering takes on what could improve the arena dropped in 2011 and it’s something I’ve kept an eye on ever since.

This area could use a makeover.

So when news broke last summer that the Pegulas had began working with contractors and doing leg work on renovating the arena, I got very excited. KeyBank Center turned 20 in 2016 and the building is really showing its age. Bringing the facility up to par with other buildings around the country would create a better fan experience and possibly open Buffalo up to more opportunities for special events.

More news has dropped in recent weeks and months about those initial reports, including a WGRZ report on fan complaints. Many of the topics covered were things the Sabres Twitter community has been discussing for a few years now.

It strikes me that we aren’t too far off from seeing plans (renderings!!!) of the changes the Sabres and Pegulas have in mind for the building. Therefore, I wanted to hit reset in a way, and collect the random musings I’ve thrown out over the past year to two in a wishlist of sorts for what I’d like to see done when the time comes to renovate the arena. Continue reading

Wear your Black and Red Night Returns! Wednesday, April 4 vs. Ottawa

The black and red era is an interesting one. On one hand you have some of the darkest times in franchise history. The Rigas scandal, bankruptcy and league control and fears of relocation. Even with that dark period at the turn of the century, those 10 years were some of the most successful in franchise history. Three Conference Finals appearances, one Stanley Cup Final, multiple playoff appearances and a few of the most memorable goals in franchise history.

Despite the success it feels like this era of team history is ignored too often and as we watch another disastrous season drag to a close, it feels like a great time to rekindle the good memories from those seasons. So, after a brief hiatus when the despicably named forerunner of this event departed for greener pastures, it’s time to bring back Black and Red night at the arena.

It seems fitting as the Dominik Hasek bobblehead being given away on Fan Appreciation Night is sporting the goathead jersey and colors. Additionally, so many of the best memories from 1996-2006 feature the Senators as the Sabres foil. Just look at the videos linked above. Plante, Dumont, Pominville all scored OT winners against the Sens. And don’t forget Bryan Smolinski’s stupid, smug face, Tim Connolly’s tying goal and Chris Drury’s winner from game one in 2006.

So join in on the celebration and rock your favorite goathead or butter knives jersey at Marine Midland Arena KeyBank Center on Wednesday night. Catch Casey Mittelstadt, grab a Hasek bobblehead and enjoy the rest of what Fan Appreciation Night will have to offer. You won’t believe this but there are plenty of seats available.

The Buffalo Sabres Tank Bracket

Since making brackets for things is all the rage these days I figured I’d get in on the fun. So I built a Sabres bracket the only way I know how – to honor the tank seasons of 2013-14 and 2014-15.

Seeding was determined based on a few somewhat random factors. Importance to Darcy Regier and Tim Murray’s shared mission, general skill level, games played, on-ice contribution (for or against the tank) and then added consideration for intangibles which unfolded during those years.

The seeds were still something of a moving target and came down to feel more than anything. But guys like Ryan Miller or Mark Pysyk who were good don’t rate quite as high on the tank scale as someone like Jaroslav Halak who despite playing zero games was a unique and somewhat laughable portion of the tank era. This covers just about everyone who suited up for the Sabres during those two seasons including a couple of surprises. Have some fun when filling this out and share it as you see fit.

The Instigator Podcast 6.25 – Mittlestadt, College Signings and Expectations

Casey Mittelstadt is under contract. So is Will Borgen while Judd Peterson signed a minor league deal. Good thing the Sabres have trouble signing college players.

On this episode of the podcast we discuss the impact of Mittelstadt’s signing and what type of expectations we should have for the rookie over his first six games. We also touch on how Borgen’s signing has the potential to turn the pipeline in a positive direction and, most importantly, Mittelstadt’s choice of number.


Two in the Mailbox – Buyout Candidates, Team Speed and Bad Trades

Two in the Mailbox, the weekly mailbag on the Sabres, goalie stuff, Buffalo and anything in between, is back. You can submit to the mailbag using #2ITBmailbag on Twitter or emailing

Joe/@JoeHockeySabres – Who are the Sabres buyout candidates? What are the buyout rules regarding numbers and salaries? Who will they pay?

The Sabres only have one buyout on their books (Cody Hodgson). The other two (Christian Ehrhoff and Ville Leino) are compliance buyouts, to the Sabres have room to work if they opt for buyouts. Here is a good rundown of the NHL’s buyout rules.

Matt Moulson seems like a pretty safe bet, even though it would probably be wiser to stash him in the AHL again and just eat that final year of his salary. On a buyout, Moulson would carry a $3.667m cap hit next year and $667K the year after. That’s a minimal net savings compared to simply keeping him one more year, but it would free up another contract space.

The most valuable buyout would probably be Zach Bogosian. His run of injuries have been incredibly detrimental to his time in Buffalo and he has two more seasons left at a cap hit over five million. Buffalo would gain a fair bit of flexibility if they chose to buy him out. From a contract perspective, cap perspective and even clearing a roster spot for a player with more availability such as Casey Nelson or perhaps even Will Borgen, depending how ready he is come October. Continue reading