One half of the Maintenance Day podcast team joined the show this week as Joe Yerdon was back once again. Unfortunately, Lance Lysowski was unable to join for our roundtable discussion. We touch on the Sabres difficult injury luck and how they will be addressing their goaltending pipeline as Devon Levi and Erik Portillo continue to impress in the NCAA. We also touch on the NHL’s announcement of rescheduled games and how the stretch run is going to be a challenge for teams to handle as the games will be coming fast and furious.
The Instigator Podcast 10.18 – Quarantine Takes
The Sabres have dropped three straight since returning from the holiday break. We discuss the debuts of Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs and JJ Peterka, offering thoughts on how each looked as they played their first games in blue and gold. We also touch on the roster issues that face the Sabres as they work through what appears to be a growing COVID outbreak in the locker room.
The Instigator Podcast 10.17 – Krebs and Peterka Arrive for Sabres Holiday Return
Peyton Krebs and JJ Peterka are poised to make their Sabres debuts as the team finally gets back to playing after an extended absence due to the league’s COVID influenced pause. We chat about how the pair will factor into the lineup along with another debutant: Alex Tuch. Beyond our excitement with Buffalo’s recent recalls, we also chat about the cancellation of the women’s U18 World Championships, how COVID has impacted the World Juniors and other topics from the past week in the NHL.
The Instigator Podcast 10.16 – NHL Out of Olympics as COVID Spreads
The NHL has extended their Christmas holiday break in an attempt to curb the COVID outbreak that has swept through the league. The result of the postponed games officially put the NHL past the breaking point on Olympic participation and the league and player’s association are expected to make a formal announcement on the withdrawal from the 2022 games soon. We close this holiday edition of the show with a couple listener questions on the Sabres potential deadline moves and what the future might hold for Casey Mittelstadt.
The Instigator Podcast 10.15 – More COVID Issues Running through the NHL
COVID outbreaks continue to impact the NHL schedule as this week has seen a number of teams impacted by positive tests and game postponements. We discuss how these most recent outbreaks are affecting the NHL schedule and what influence it may have on the league’s ability to send players to the Olympics. Also on the docket is the impressive play of Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and how he may be influencing Buffalo’s choices in net. Lastly, we touch on the World Junior Championships rosters, the Sabres prospects expected to participate and who we predict to take home gold in this year’s tournament.
The Instigator Podcast 9.8 – COVID Hits the Sabres
The Sabres are facing a week-long postponement due to COVID protocols in the wake of their weekend series with the Devils. With New Jersey dealing with 14 players on the COVID list, it seems likely that the Sabres could see their list balloon as well. We discuss how the league’s decision to let the games go forward was extremely shortsighted and how the ripple effect from these suspensions could begin to wreak havoc on the league schedule. We also touch on Tony DeAngelo being waived by the Rangers along with the struggles the Sabres have had scoring at even strength.
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The Instigator Podcast 9.2 – Catching a Taxi Squad
The NHL season is just a few weeks away and clarification has finally come down with regard to the league’s schedule and the key dates for the season. This week’s episode touches on the dates for the start of the season, the trade deadline, playoffs, the draft and more. Among the new additions for the season is a taxi squad that each team will be able to leverage for additional roster flexibility. We discuss the most strategic approach for the Sabres to take with the taxi squad and whether or not we envision the group being used as a development tool or for older call ups as the season progresses. We also touch on the helmet ads coming for the 2020-21 NHL season and the outlook for Jack Quinn and Dylan Cozens at the World Junior Championship.
The Instigator Podcast 9.1 – Ready to Roll with the 2020-21 Season
We’re back for season nine and we’re looking ahead to what promises to be another unusual year for the Buffalo Sabres and the NHL. With the announcement of the 56-game season and realigned divisions, we discuss the outlook for the Sabres and the path they’ll need to follow in order to break their playoff drought. We also touch on the World Junior Championship and the Sabres prospects who are likely to be participating in the event this season.
Ranking the Potential NHL Lottery Winners
The NHL’s second draft lottery drops tonight with the eight eliminated Stanley Cup Qualifier teams holding equal 12.5% odds to land the first overall selection.
Maybe it was just me, but the minute the league announced that they’d be using placeholder spots for teams in the qualifying round, I knew one would wind up winning a top three pick. That feeling of inevitability wasn’t due to suspicion of foul play or some sort of fixed lottery but simply from knowing this league has perfected over complicating practically everything.
In and of itself, awarding lottery odds to eliminated teams wasn’t a poor choice. Given the gift on hindsight, the league probably would’ve been smarter to do a single drawing with the original odds once the qualifying round was done. Splitting the lottery was an odd choice which really only opened the door for complaints from fanbases (and probably some GMs) around the league. It will only become more unpopular if one of the stronger teams in tonight’s drawing wins the first pick.
The drawing itself if rife with potential controversy. You can expect a wave of negative reactions if Toronto, Pittsburgh or Edmonton win this evening. Even the Rangers, fresh off picking second last year after some lottery luck, would be a fairly unpopular result. There are also some very obvious Sabres-related pitfalls that could come out of tonight. A Leafs win would be, let’s say, inconvenient. As would a Panthers win. Really any Eastern Conference win would create challenges for the Sabres. With that in mind, let’s rank the potential lottery winners based on how it could affect the Sabres and though the additional lens of my personal preferences. Continue reading
The Instigator Podcast 8.32 – NHL Playoff Preview Extravaganza
The NHL will officially be back in just a few short days and we’re running through the qualifying round matchups on this week’s show. We touch on each series and point out what to watch for and who we’re favoring in each matchup. We also offer up our picks for Cup finalists despite the many pitfalls that the combined layoff and unusual nature of this year’s playoff format creates.