The Instigator Podcast 9.32 – Breaking Down a Wild Draft Weekend

We’re back with a longer episode this week as there was a lot of action from the draft to dig into. Not only do we discuss Buffalo’s picks but offer up our favorites of Kevyn Adams’ class of 2021. The big topics were the pair of trades the Sabres made; sending Rasmus Ristolainen to the Philadelphia Flyers and Sam Reinhart to the Florida Panthers. We provide a quick update on where the Eichel sweepstakes stand and close the show with a bit of conversation on free agency.

The Instigator Podcast 9.26 – A Busy Summer Awaits featuring Lance Lysowski

Lance Lysowski of The Buffalo News joined the show to run down some of the biggest topics surrounding the Sabres. And at the moment, that is a long list. We talk about the impeding Jack Eichel trade and all of the implications (both positive and negative) that carries with it. We talk through some of the expected destinations where Eichel may land, and the sort of return you can expect to see once the trade goes down. Draft talk was also on the table as this week’s rumor that the Sabres are expecting to have two top-10 picks could put them in a somewhat rare position to come away from the draft with two blue chip prospects. Along the way we touch on goaltending and a few other trade targets who fans should keep track of.

The Instigator Podcast 9.22 – Locker Cleanout Meltdown featuring Joe Yerdon

It was quite the day for the Sabres as Jack Eichel’s comments at locker cleanout day made headlines throughout the hockey world as he was extremely transparent about the disconnect between his camp and the organization. We discuss the potential fallout from Monday’s interview as Eichel certainly sounded like a player who was on his way to being dealt. Not to mention to similarly negative outlook portrayed by Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen.

The Instigator Podcast 9.20 – The Eichel Episode

There has been a whole lot said about Jack Eichel over the last few years – and this year in particular. We try and encapsulate some of that conversation related to the Sabres star as we analyze how badly the Sabres miss him on the ice, some of the questionable opinions that exist about him publicly and also the potential that he could be traded. Not only do we discuss the idea that Eichel could be moved but what a trade would look like and how it could affect the club in both the short and long term. Also on this week’s show is a discussion on Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and his NHL debut.

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Two in the Mailbox: Rebuilds, Coaches and GMs, Oh My

Congratulations to the Sabres for once again failing to play a meaningful game in March. This season comes with the added bonus of having started in January.

As a result of the current state of the only Buffalo pro sports team competing, this week’s mailbag is a little bleak. We have questions on rebuild potential, prospects and the owners. Continue reading

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.

The Instigator Podcast is supported by Manscaped. You can get 20% off and free shipping by using the code 2ITB at www.manscaped.com.

Boom or Bust: Five Factors for the Sabres Season

After 300 days the Sabres will be back on the ice this week, kicking off the 2020-21 season. Their lengthy layoff was punctuated by the same sort of turmoil that has followed them in recent years as Jason Botterill was given a vote of confidence before being fired shortly thereafter.

A large chunk of hockey staff were handed their walking papers along with the entire Rochester coaching staff. With additional bad press surrounding ownership due to layoffs on the business side of the organization, they landed on Kevyn Adams as their next GM.

Adams’ first offseason was a bit of a roller coaster. The acquisitions of Taylor Hall and Eric Staal were big wins but questions linger over the selection of Jack Quinn at eighth overall and the decision to let Dominik Kahun walk. Meanwhile, the jury is out on the Cody Eakin and Tobias Rieder signings. It seems the offseason was a success for Adams with a few expected hiccups.

Now, on the eve of the season, the Sabres face a tough division and yet another uphill battle to ending their playoff drought. While the East Division may not be as tough as initially thought, the Sabres are hardly a shoo-in for the postseason. But the NHL has produced its fair share of darkhorse playoff qualifiers and with just a few sly moves (and a bit of luck) the Sabres might find themselves in the postseason for the first time since 2011. So what are the boom or bust factors for the Sabres in 2020-21? Continue reading

Twitter Homework: Which Group of Sabres Makes the Better Roster?

Mike Schopp asked a great question with the Twitter poll he sent out asking which group of jersey numbers would net the better all-time Sabres team.

It’s a great question which sparks some juicy debate. Do you go with goaltending (20-99) or the bulk of Buffalo’s retired numbers (0-19)? With the poll favoring 0-19, I have a feeling that the quick answer is representative of the first players you can think of within the two sets of digits he provided. It’s easy to come up with The French Connection, Pat LaFontaine, Mike Ramsey and Jack Eichel and go with 0-19 over Dominik Hasek and numbers 20-99.

But I felt with a little digging you’d find that you can form two very well-rounded teams from both sets of numbers. Teams which scope out to be closer than you may have thought initially. So I took it upon myself to dig into the Sabres’ number history and build what I feel are the two best teams from the groups of numbers provided in Schopp’s poll. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 8.21 – Sam, Skinner and Shakeups

Should Jeff Skinner be reunited with Jack Eichel? Is it imperative for Sam Reinhart to play away from Eichel? Is it odd that after seeing two coaches shuffle Buffalo’s lines “too much”, Ralph Krueger has been hesitant to alter his top unit? We tackle a number of topics related to Skinner’s goal scoring struggles, and how the Sabres might best optimize the top six in a way that would get Skinner back on track and determine if Reinhart can indeed drive his own line.

Sabres Rewind: More Fun in the Defensive Zone

Buffalo’s most recent attempt to string together back-to-back wins fell short with a road home loss to Toronto on Wednesday night. The Sabres allowed three-straight to the Leafs after taking a first period lead and the first two goals were both messy in their own regard.

John Tavares’ tap-in was the product of an effective cycle driven by William Nylander and Buffalo’s continued struggles picking up coverage in the defensive zone. Far too often this season, the Sabres have gotten loose in their coverage, leading to uncontested shots and tap-ins for their opponents. Their coverage has been so poor at times that opponents managed to not only find a free lane to the net but have teammates sitting open on the back door as well. It’s a problem that’s plagued the Sabres all season and I’m not quite sure if they’ll ever solve the problem unless the coaching staff makes some fundamental changes to their system.

Like with most plays, everything is harmless enough as Nylander picks up the puck behind the net. Sam Reinhart is low in the zone filling the typical center duties, Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner are higher, covering the points, and Rasmus Ristolainen and Marco Scandella each have a man.

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading