Reasons for Optimism in the Sabres Crease

Ask around and most fans and pundits will tell you the Sabres will only go as far as their goaltenders will take them this season. While there are some question marks in the crease, I think Sabres fans may be in for a pleasant surprise this year.

There’s a lot of talk about exactly how far Robin Lehner can take the Sabres this season. His health, an issue last year, has served as the single biggest criticism of his game not just here in Buffalo but from his time in Ottawa as well.

However, given the level he performed at last season and the shape he came to camp in this fall should serve to erase most, if not all of the concerns Sabres fans have about the team’s starting goaltender. Tim Murray paid a lot to acquire Lehner and question marks followed him from Canada’s capital but there should be nothing but confidence in Lehner entering the season.

The start of Lehner’s first season with the Sabres is well documented. Concussion symptoms crept into his offseason training, leaving him overweight for the start of the season. Double down on the high ankle sprain suffered in the opener and the subsequent three-month absence and you’re left with an incomplete evaluation of his play. Continue reading

Bills Get Defensive to Power Win Streak

The resurgence of the Buffalo Bills over the last three weeks hasn’t just been encouraging in terms of the outlook for the season but it’s been somewhat relieving too.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have my doubts heading into this season as injuries and suspensions pulled a number of key defensive contributors away from the team while question marks on offense left me wondering just how potent the Bills could be. Not to mention my willingness to buy into anything the Bills were selling hit an all-time low this summer. There’s only so much abuse you can take over a 16 year span before you adjust your behavior. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 5.18 – Sabres Season Preview with Jeremy White of WGR 550

Jeremy White of WGR 550 joined Chris and Tyler to offer up a season preview for the 2016-17 Sabres season as we placed a particular focus on how the Buffalo blueline will shape the team’s success this year. We also touch on the new contract for Rasmus Ristolainen and the additional RFA contracts signed by Johnny Gaudreau and Nikita Kucherov. As always, you can find The Instigator Podcast on iTunes and through Google Play. Thanks again to Jeremy for joining the show and offering up his thoughts on the Sabres outlook for the year.

Sabres Twitter Drinking Game

I like to have fun with the Sabres Twitter account as you usually don’t need to look too far for a poorly timed Tweet or a general lack of communicating key hockey facts. With that in mind, I thought it would be #fun to create a drinking game to accompany Sabres Twitter on game nights this year.

Have some fun with this and feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments section, we’ll make sure to update this as the season progresses. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 5.17 – Gudas, NHL Discipline and Projecting the Sabres Roster

We’re back to provide our thoughts on what the initial Sabres roster will look like for the season as Derek Grant, Hudson Fasching and Casey Nelson among those impressing in the preseason. Along the way we touch on some of the seemingly inaccurate statistical models projecting the Sabres season and the stunning lack of discipline applied to Radko Gudas’ latest indiscretion. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes so you never miss an episode.

Brian Higgins and Canalside: Still Waiting on Action

At some point in the past I joked that I’d have kids by the time Canalside was developed. Somehow that joke turned out to be a bit more prophetic than I’d planned.

It’s no secret that Canalside is being developed at a snail’s pace. The waterfront gem that draws thousands each summer hasn’t seen any tangible additions since the historically aligned canals opened two years ago – completing a construction schedule riddled with delays. Now, with a child of my own, I’m left to find a new joke to make about the progress at Canalside.

Congressman Brian Higgins recently spoke out against ECHDC for their relative inaction in fulfilling the development portion of their mission. Ironically, that’s what the D in ECHDC stands for. Higgins’ comments came in a Buffalo News article on September 10 which I should have addressed in this space earlier, but I’ve been following an ECHDC schedule in getting posts up as of late.

I thought it best to offer up an FJM, of sorts, as it pertains to the article in question as it came just prior to the shutdown of the Buffalo Amtrak station and new questions about relocating the station to an area within Canalside. So, what is to follow is less an FJM and more a running commentary on Higgins’ comments and the general outlook for Canalside as we near the end of another summer enjoying the waterfront destination.

(The original article will be bolded) Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 5.16 – Sabres Camp and the Surprising Trouba Trade Request

After Jacob Trouba’s surprising trade request from Winnipeg, Chris and Tyler discuss the Sabres-related focus on the request and potential for the Sabres to acquire the young blueliner. We also touch on the beginning of Sabres training camp and the battle for spots in Buffalo’s bottom six. You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, hit the link here to subscribe and rate.