Scouting the Amerks – Bailey and Rodrigues Lighting the Lamp

This was a week of exorcising demons in Rochester. They were able to defeat The Syracuse Crunch for the first time in six games, and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on their fourth try.

Following the holiday break the new-look Amerks eared six points from four games. This brings them a point above the Marlies into fourth place in the North Division. Utica and Toronto still have a couple of games in hand, but if the Amerks can keep stringing together wins, their playoff hopes look optimistic. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 5.28 – New Year but Asking the Same Questions

Back for the new year, Chris and Tyler are stuck asking the same questions of the Sabres that were asked in 2016. The Sabres appear to be stuck in neutral with no real signs of getting moving again thanks to injuries, poor special teams and poor coaching. We analyze what options are left at this point in the year and look forward with some hope as not everything is bleak down at Key Bank Center. Catch the new episode here or on your device, links to subscribe to The Instigator Podcast can be found below.

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A Purge is the Only Logical Choice at One Bills Drive

Another Bills season has gone without playoffs and yet another season has ended with an impending search for a new head coach. We’ve all heard this song 17 times over yet there’s no sign that anything will be different this time around.

Yet there’s no sign that the Pegulas are willing to burn down the front office and start fresh.

The only thing different this time around that more questions are being asked of the decision makers at One Bills Drive, not just the failures of the coach. Doug Whaley, Russ Brandon and the Pegulas have come under fire from fans and media alike and while it doesn’t appear as if any serious changes will come, at least the larger issues are being addressed.

I didn’t have high expectations for this season, I didn’t see the Bills as the playoff team some were selling them as, and I certainly didn’t think they had the answers to overcome their shortcomings. Somehow they still managed to fail to meet my expectations. It’s an amazing feat that the Bills can find new and interesting ways to disappoint, but with nearly two decades of practice I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised. Continue reading

Crease Crash Course: Brain Farts All Around in Florida

The Sabres were just minutes away from an impressive comeback road win in Sunrise when a quartet of bad plays led to the tying goal in a game the Sabres would ultimately lose in a shootout.

At the center of Nick Bjugstad’s goal is Zach Bogosian, who makes a number of bad decisions which led to the goal. Robin Lehner, who had played a strong game to this point, ultimately made a very strange decision and poor read prior to Bjugstad chipping the tying goal home.

This is the first goalie review in some time as Buffalo’s run over the last few weeks has featured mostly straightforward play. Both Lehner and Anders Nilsson have continued to play very well and the goals they’re being beaten on aren’t too complicated. So the lack of really in-depth plays to review (and the lack of quality replays in some cases) has led to the absence. However, Bjugstad’s goal on Tuesday featured a number of breakdowns, including the goaltender. Continue reading

Scouting the Amerks – Rochester Inching Closer to AHL Basement

In a week full of ups and downs, the Amerks are officially in danger of becoming the last place team in the AHL. The Amerks had two impressive home wins against the Marlies and Ice Caps. Unfortunately each of them was followed by an equally frustrating 4-1 loss.

After Wednesday’s offensive explosion, the top line featuring Nick Baptiste, Cal O’Reilly, and Cole Schneider, only combined for one point in the next three games.  If not for a generous home book on what was primarily an individual effort from Just Bailey, they would have been shut out. The trio was -11 over that stretch of play.

The addition of Taylor Fedun on Saturday immediately injected life into a struggling defensive core.  However, an injury to Tyson Strachan that same night thrust Casey Nelson back into action on Monday. Nelson has played especially poor this week. If there was more defensive depth in the organization, he would probably be playing in Elmira right now. Before Fedun replaced him on the point, he was a large contributor to the struggles of the Amerks power play. Even after the change was made, Rochester has still not converted with a man advantage. Rochester hasn’t scored on the power play since November 30, an 0-23 stretch. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 5.27 – Do the Sabres have a Crease Crisis?

With a lot of attention directed to Buffalo’s goal tending as of late, Chris and Tyler spend this week’s podcast discussing the strength shown by Lehner and Nilsson so far this year while also pouring water on the idea that there could be some sort of controversy brewing.

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The Instigator Podcast Interview – Featuring Sabres History and Memorabilia

We will be doing a new feature on The Instigator Podcast on a weekly (or semi-weekly) basis. The interview series will be one-on-one conversations covering a wide range of hockey topics. We’ll touch on Sabres topics and general NHL and hockey fandom as well.

The first Instigator Interview features the men behind the Seymour Knox’s Ghost Twitter account as he and Chris discuss his impressive memorabilia collection the covers one-of-a-kind items from The Aud and beyond. We also discuss whether or not the team has done enough to honor their rich history in recent years. You can catch the interviews in the same places you find our regular episodes.

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