Petersen Should Start in the AHL, No Matter Where He Signs

There was no escaping the Jimmy Vesey debate last year, especially after the Sabres acquired his rights from Nashville. Will he or won’t he sign? He’s playing with Eichel in the summer, is that a sign? Now Sabres fans are enduring the same angst as they wait for news regarding Cal Petersen.

Should he choose to leave school, Petersen could become a free agent on June 1 and test the waters around the league to see which feels best. Like with Vesey, it’s a right he’s entitled to via the CBA.

Aside from Petersen, his family, advisor and maybe Tim Murray, no one really knows what’s going on at this point in time. But it stands to reason that the longer Petersen goes without a contract, the more likely it is that  he’s going to hit the open market.

It’s not out of the realm of possibility that he chooses to return to Notre Dame for his senior season, as we’re now two days removed from the end of the Sabres season and five days removed from Petersen’s exit from the Frozen Four with news of a contract yet to break. It’s not out of the question that Petersen would still sign with the Sabres, it just seems unlikely the further away from the end of the season we get. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 5.40 – NHL Bails on the Olympics while the Sabres Bail on Giveaways

On this week’s episode Chris and Tyler run down the decision and potential consequences by the NHL to not send players to the 2018 Winter Games. We discuss the potential impact on the growth of the game overseas and the consequences closer to home. Also on the agenda is the poor giveaway offered by the Sabres for this year’s Fan Appreciation Night and the additional opportunities the Sabres miss when it comes to fan engagement, giveaways and promotions.

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The Instigator Podcast 5.39 – Who Should the Sabres Protect in the NHL Expansion Draft?

Ennis? Bogosian? Moulson? Ullmark? Will the Sabres manage to pawn off a big salary on the Vegas Golden Knights or will Tim Murray have work to do in terms of which players he exposes and which players he protects. Chris and Tyler run down Buffalo’s options for the expansion draft while also hitting on the signing of CJ Smith, USWNT negotiations and Sam Reinhart’s benching.

The Instigator Podcast 5.38 – Celebrating the Buffalo Beauts NWHL Championship with Jacquie Greco

Buffalo Beauts forward Jacquie Greco joined the show to talk about the Buffalo Beauts’ championship win over the Boston Pride. We touch on additional topics on the future of the women’s game while also discussing Olympic participation from the men’s and women’s perspective. Thanks again to Jacquie for coming to join the show this week (and for bringing the Isobel Cup along with her!).

The Instigator Podcast 5.37 – Do the Sabres have a Leadership Problem?

As the Sabres slide further from playoff contention, questions about roster construction, coaching and effort continue to be asked. We sit down this week to discuss rumors of a rift between the players and the coach and even between some of the players. Along the way we chat about how difficult it really is to find solid leadership if it isn’t homegrown.

Bylsma’s Shortcomings Aren’t Exactly New

Since climbing within a point of a playoff position in the Eastern Conference the Sabres have hit one of their worst runs of play in the entire 2016-17 season, dropping seven of their last eight games and falling well out of reach of serious playoff contention.

The skid has been defined by blown third period leads, losses to teams below Buffalo in the standings and sub-par goaltending. However, the third period collapses are by far the most concerning aspect of this recent run. It’s something that’s highlighted many of Buffalo’s other shortcomings this year.

In some ways this run was probably inevitable. The Sabres have been allowing absurd numbers of shots and shot attempts on a game-to-game basis and had been winning the odd one thanks, in part, to the play of Anders Nilsson and Robin Lehner. Both have given the Sabres strong play throughout the year but recently only share one game with two goals against or fewer (shootout loss to Tampa Bay). Both have still played well through the course of these games despite the ugly results. Look no further than Nilsson’s play in Pittsburgh or the handful of sterling saves Lehner made against Philly in an otherwise forgettable performance.

Simple logic would indicate that Buffalo’s poor defensive play finally caught up to them and despite otherwise strong play from their goaltenders, the team just isn’t good enough to cover all of their shortcomings. It’s a combination of poor personnel (hello defensemen) and poor usage that’s undermined what could have been an exciting season for the Sabres and now it appears the focus has shifted firmly to Dan Bylsma.

Even prior to this slump, postgame comments had indicated that all wasn’t well in the Sabres locker room. There were warning signs that the players were ignoring their coach’s wishes and going off script at key points in each game. Now that they’ve only accrued one win since the bye week, those whispers are growing louder.

As the season slips away from the Sabres it seems more likely that Bylsma’s future sits on rocky ground. Even with the obvious shortcomings on Buffalo’s roster, many of his tactics and systems seem to work against the strengths the Sabres do boast. In many ways it seems as if he’s being haunted by many of the ghosts which pushed him out of Pittsburgh. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 5.36 – Recapping a Quiet Deadline with Joe Yerdon of NHL.com

In the wake of an extremely quiet trade deadline, we were joined by Joe Yerdon of NHL.com to talk about the moves – or lack there of – that went down on deadline day. Recording at Big Ditch Brewing, we hammer out Tim Murray’s lack of action and the roadmap for the Sabres GM moving forward. Among our other talking points is how expansion may have played a role at the deadline and how the lack of action in-season may trickle down to the pre-expansion deadline.

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