The Instigator Podcast 11.25 – Sabres Face a Serious Stretch Run

We recap the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline and reflect on the busiest deadline for the Sabres since 2015. Each deal the Sabres made over the last week is analyzed as we discuss how Kevyn Adams’ roster tweaks can aid Buffalo’s push for a playoff position. How the Sabres stretch run will shape up ties into our deadline conversation as the team faces a difficult run in to end the season with a tough hill to climb to sneak into the playoffs.

We also give a rundown of some of the most notable deals that were made at this year’s deadline, offering up our favorite, least favorite and biggest surprise.

The Instigator Podcast 11.24 – Sabres Trade Deadline Primer

With just a few days to go until the trade deadline, the Sabres made their first move of the season. We run down the deal Buffalo made to acquire Riley Stillman and offer up some deeper insight on which other players the Sabres may target before Friday afternoon. We also break down the trades that saw Timo Meier, Jake McCabe and Tanner Jeannot move over the weekend and asses where the market stands after many of the most notable names have been gobbled up.

The Instigator Podcast 11.23 – Deadline Fits and Misses

With the deadline just over a week away, we dig into some of the players who have been most commonly brought up in trade rumors and determine which would be a fit for the Sabres and which would be best left for another team to acquire. We also revisit the approach the Sabres should be taking ahead of the deadline given their place in the standings, trade assets and prior comments made by Kevyn Adams. Buffalo’s opportunity to serve as a broker was another topic we touched upon as there are a number of high profile targets who would be easier to acquire with an additional team to retain salary along the way.

The Instigator Podcast 11.22 – Time to Get Back on Track

Buffalo’s play after the All Star break has been suspect as the team has dropped four-straight and face two key contests to close out their West Coast trip. We talk about what we feel to be overreactions to the teams’ most recent skid and how things look in the bigger picture for the club. We also touch on the latest trade chatter, including two defensemen who could be of interest to the Sabres ahead of the March 3 deadline.

The Instigator Podcast 11.21 – Cozens Inks Extension

Dylan Cozens has signed long-term with the Sabres, inking a seven-year deal on Tuesday. We talk about the deal and how the structure helps the Sabres and how it posiitons Cozens with other recently signed centers around the league. Before that we talk about Jessica Pegula’s article in The Player’s Tribune which gives an encouraging update over her mom’s health, along with some other notable peices of information as it pertains to the Bills and Sabres.

The Instigator Podcast 11.20 – Taking Listener Questions Before the All Star Break

With the All Star break around the corner, I took some listener questions on trade thoughts, reverse retro jerseys, old hockey brands and much more. Thanks to everyone who submitted questions for this week’s show. Looking forward to getting back up and running after the break and the Sabres bye.

The Instigator Podcast 11.19 – Trading Places

Lots of trade talk on this week’s episode as we have a little fun and look around the league to see which teams we would willingly swap Buffalo’s roster for. It’s a lighthearted exercise but with a sign towards the traits on the current roster which has made this season so encouraging. Before we get to that, we discuss the early rumors connecting the Sabres to Timo Meier and offer up some thoughts on Ryan Miller night. We also dip our toe in the water with some scoreboard watching as the Sabres remain in the thick of the Eastern Conference wild card race.

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Thanks, Ryan

I hadn’t had a desk at the arena very long before Kevin Snow sent me downstairs to work on my first feature for the program. Go downstairs and grab Miller. Just go grab the team’s biggest star and see if he’s got a few minutes to spare. No big deal.

So I went downstairs armed with a barrel of questions – some relevant to the task at hand, others not so much – and I spent about an hour sitting across from a guy who I’d practically idolized the last handful of years.

See, Dominik Hasek is why I wanted to be a goalie. Rolling around the crease, making spectacular saves. You couldn’t find a better idol for a young kid playing house at West Seneca. There were plenty of other reasons I was inspired to play goal. The gear, the masks, but Hasek was the cornerstone of it all.

Ryan Miller, is who is responsible for me truly falling in love with goaltending.

The league was locked out my freshman year of college. I remember trying to follow the Amerks as best I could from Cleveland and scoring tickets to one of their cameos in Buffalo that year. Miller’s eventual arrival coincided with the years I played for John Carroll. It was perfect timing. His fluid precision was a joy to watch. I did my best to model my play after his.

He was really the first athlete I truly tried to do that with. And not long after that, there I was sitting with him discussing his offseason training, his role on the league’s competition committee and a host of other topics. We eventually boiled down to talking gear, as most goalies do, and he even gave me some insider info on how some of the goalies in the league at that time cheated the system. It was a great conversation, and I can think of no better baptism for that job than getting to shoot the shit with Ryan Miller for a while.

Throughout the course of the year there were small interactions – almost all gear focused – that have stuck with me. Not so much because I got to talk about goalie gear with Ryan Miller, but because he took the time to remember that sliver of information about the skinny kid who worked in PR.

Of course, I’d been following him closely even before that year I spent with the Sabres. It was a treat to have such an up close look at what he did on a daily basis in practice or in games. He wasn’t a goalie who just tried to get hit with the puck. In an era where blocking goalies were prevalent, he had a unique way of always looking so composed in his movement in net. Like everything was playing out according to a script. His footwork and movement in the crease was fluid and his ability to read the play set him apart from so many of his peers. He had a swagger to his game as well that I always felt was particularly notable during shootouts. He stayed out of his stance longer than you might expect and he had a fake poke check he would mix in from time to time as well. There was just so many layers to his game, I could analyze and break down his play for hours if given the opportunity.

I’m not sure if I’d have the same relationship with goaltending that I do today had Miller not come along. My college career was hardly notable, but I craved to play more no matter what. Miller and his prime years in Buffalo have a lot to do with that.

We all love this stupid team for one reason or another. Miller’s 10-plus years serve as cornerstone of my connection to the Sabres and to goaltending as a whole.  

Thanks, Ryan.

The Instigator Podcast 11.18 – The Sabres and the Three-Headed Goalie Monster

The Sabres waived Vinny Hinostroza on Wednesday afternoon, opening the door for the team to officially carry three goaltenders on the roster. We discuss the decision to waive Hinostroza, the challenges of carrying three goalies and how this decision affects Buffalo’s outlook as they work to stay in the Eastern Conference playoff race. We start the show with a conversation about Ivan Provorov and his decision to not wear the Flyers Pride Night warmup jersey earlier this week.

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The Instigator Podcast 11.17 – Setting Expectations for a Growing Team

We’re back to discuss the Sabres continued improvement and some thoughts on how to judge this team as they creep into the playoff picture. We talk about resetting expectations for a team that is still growing in order to remain realistic regarding the outlook for the remainder of the season. We also talk about the back-to-back losses the Sabres suffered and even bring back some conversations about potential arena renovations and just when we may see those plans resurface.

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