Here We Go Now

Looking back, last year was something of a false start for the Sabres. Jack Eichel’s injury dampened the first half of the season and Tim Murray wasn’t willing or able to move enough pieces to shore up the blueline.

What was originally thought of as a coming out party became a regression and a practice in further patience with the rebuilding process.

This season feels different.

Maybe it’s the shine of a new coach and general manager combo. Phil Housley is pushing an uptempo style of play and Jason Botterill hasn’t been shy about reshaping the roster – especially on the blueline. But what has really stoked excitement for the start of the season was locking up Jack Eichel for eight more years.

Getting Eichel’s contract done will erase every take about potential distractions and his desire to play in Boston. More importantly, it ensures that Eichel’s prime years will be spent in the Nickel City.

Maybe it’s the Buffalo inferiority complex at play, but sometimes it seems like Eichel isn’t appreciated as the talisman that he is for this franchise. Not so much from a national perspective, but locally. Nevermind the process that it took to get him, but simply his impact on the ice; his ability to drive play even with two wet paper bags as linemates is something Sabres fans haven’t seen since Gilbert Perreault played. Yet, sometimes I feel like fans see him as just another piece of the puzzle and not the cornerstone that he is.

Eichel is an electrifying talent. He’s played little more than a season-and-a-half and his highlight reel is already astounding. He’s everything we’ve hoped the Sabres would find while also being the antitheses of what’s defined this team for so long. He’s the most exciting player to don a Sabres sweater in a decade (two decades? Three?) and should things go as expected, he may just go down as the most exciting player in franchise history.

The desire for gritty, hard-working, blue-collar players has grown to mythical proportions with the Buffalo fan base. Our greatest stars have almost always occupied the crease and despite being blessed by the greatest player to ever play the position, the Sabres never had the skaters to fully compliment the limitless talent Dominik Hasek offered.

In a way, it’s refreshing just to know that the Sabres aren’t simply building from the net out. This team is going to be led from the front and it’s going to be done by a dynamic talent well worth the trouble it took to get him. The pieces around him continue to fall into place and it truly feels like the Sabres are ready to stop the suffering and start winning.

Here we go.

The Instigator Podcast 6.5 – Discussing the Bright Spots at Development Camp and Key Sabres Contracts

Sabres Development Camp wrapped up with the French Connection Tournament yesterday and in the wake of another mid-summer peek at Buffalo’s prospect pipeline, Chris and Tyler share their thoughts on who stood out from the crowd over the weekend. In addition, we offer up some thoughts on the contract status of Robin Lehner, Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel. Although we don’t spend very much time on #15.

New Phone Wallpapers for the 2017-18 Season

With the 2017-18 Buffalo Sabres season rapidly approaching, I built out some new phone background for use as a lockscreen, wallpaper or both. I’ll add new players as the season goes on and if you have any requests, send them my way. Enjoy. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 5.33 – Eichel, Booing and more Sabres Deadline Talk

Chris and Tyler spend far too much time discussing the fallout from Jack Eichel’s harmless comments following the Sharks victory in addition to hitting on Buffalo’s You Can Play Night and the fast approaching NHL trade deadline. We also focus in on the continued rumors surrounding the Coyotes and Islanders while hitting on a few more trade deadline storylines as Brian Gionta, Dmirty Kulikov and Cody Franson are starting to come up on watch lists.

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The Instigator Podcast 5.31 – Lehner Rumors and Judging what the Sabres Control

Back for another episode, Chris and Tyler pour over recent rumors that Robin Lehner may have been shopped after his meltdown in Toronto while also debating the thought process of trying to compare players team-to-team. We argue that the Sabres need to be judged based on their results, not the results of another club or another player.

We think this is a topic that’s getting badly misinterpreted by the fanbase, if you agree, disagree or simply think we’re complete dopes, please let us know.

You can grab The Instigator Podcast on the go by subscribing on iTunes, Google Play or other podcast apps.

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The Instigator Podcast 5.25 – The Jack Attack is Back

The Instigator Podcast is back to recap Jack Eichel’s triumphant return to the Sabres lineup and how his play will affect the rest of the roster. Also in this week’s episode: we touch on Dougie Hamilton’s recent trade rumors, the Canada World Junior selection camp roster and even get a special guest appearance from the 2ITB Dog, Bauer.

We have also transferred to a new hosting service with Podbean. So if there are any technical difficulties that you encounter, please don’t hesitate to notify Tyler or myself as we transfer to the new service. You can still subscribe and listen on iTunes or through Google Play as usual, so there are no other changes to be concerned with.

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2015-16 2ITB Sabres Awards

Once again the 2ITB Awards are back to celebrate another season of Sabres hockey. As always, some of these categories are serious and others are inserted for fun.

It was an interesting season given Buffalo’s surge from the basement to almost out of the basement. While they didn’t climb too high in the standings, they improved by nearly 30 points in the standings and injected an incredible amount of excitement into the fanbase thanks to the exploits detailed below.

I’m expecting an exciting offseason and probably a new set of expectations for next year which will be a little too high. Until then, enjoy some of the highlights from 2015-16. Continue reading