The Instigator Podcast 7.32 – The Seven

We have a game seven in the Stanley Cup Finals. Tyler and I open this episode discussing the deciding game between the Bruins and Blues, determining which team will lift the Cup on Wednesday. Oh by the way, Jeff Skinner’s contract is done, much to the relief of fans throughout Sabres Nation. We discuss the deal and all the criticism and praise it’s received. We also touch on the coming flurry of trade action that’s already been kicked off, in a way, by the Flyers acquisition of Kevin Hayes. This week’s episode explores some trade options for the Sabres and just what might unfold in the coming weeks.

You can listen to The Instigator Podcast on most podcast streaming services, including large providers such as iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio and TuneIn and most other third-party podcast streaming apps. You can find links to subscribe and rate the show below:

iTunes
Spotify
Stitcher
iHeartRadio
TuneIn
Google Play

Sabres Lock Down Skinner with Eight-Year Deal

While the contract may be more than you hoped it would be, Jason Botterill stared down his most important target of the offseason and didn’t miss.

Jeff Skinner agreed to an eight-year, $9 million contract on Friday night, ending a will he or won’t he saga that feels like it stretched on for a decade. It’s the contract most fans had accepted as the going rate months ago, yet the negotiations appeared to drag over the last two weeks, likely due to the last few deal points each side was pulling for. It was an agonizing wait, particularly once Bob McKenzie kicked things off with his report on NBCSN which Jeremy White soon followed with a report of his own later that week. From that point on, fans were left refreshing Twitter waiting for McKezine, Darren Dreger or Elliotte Friedman to confirm the deal was done, only for the reports to continue for another week.

That week led to a fair bit of hand wringing as cryptic updates bred more doubt as it felt like the two sides were speeding towards whatever arbitrary deadline they had set. In the end it all got sorted out, for the term and value we’d all been expecting for months. They could’ve saved some fan frustration by getting the contract done at some point in May, but now that it’s done we can look forward to the next pieces the Sabres will need to acquire. Continue reading

Playing Catch Up on the Last Few Weeks

It’s gotten a little too easy to procrastinate on blog ideas lately. Between the Sabres acting hopeless, new kiddos and other responsibilities, tossing musings up on this site just hasn’t taken precedent. In an effort to remedy that, I wanted to take some time to play catch up on everything that’s gone down over the last month or two.

Jeff Skinner’s contract negotiations have fans running constant vigils on Twitter, the Sabres have a new coach and Ryan O’Reilly remains a talking point for people who don’t have anything better to bring up. In order to play catch up on most of this, I offer you this (hardly) brief rundown of thoughts and reaction to what’s been happening in the world of hockey over the last few weeks. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 7.31 – Waiting on Skinner News

After an extended layoff we’re back at it and playing catch up on a few topics. After a brief rundown of the Cup Final, we hit on the Sabres’ hiring of Ralph Kruger before diving head first into the Jeff Skinner contract negotiation.

You can listen to The Instigator Podcast on most podcast streaming services, including large providers such as iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio and TuneIn and most other third-party podcast streaming apps. You can find links to subscribe and rate the show below:

iTunes
Spotify
Stitcher
iHeartRadio
TuneIn
Google Play

Sabres Rewind: The Very Bad, No Good Second Period

Things started pretty well for the Sabres in Toronto on Monday night. They carried play throughout the first period and were eventually rewarded with the game’s first goal.

Quick note for this edition. For portions of the play that aren’t ass backwards or super goofy I will keep using comic sans for max comedy. For general highlights or more serious aspects I won’t act like the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers and use a normal font.

They didn’t carry that positive momentum into the second period, however. The Leafs scored three goals in just over two minutes and four total in the period to take a lead they wouldn’t surrender. A couple of the goals were fairly straightforward. John Tavares got a good tip on Jake Muzzin’s point shot – Matt Hunwick could’ve done a better job tying up Tavares on that one – and Auston Matthews cashed in an unfortunate bounce off Evan Rodrigues. The other two goals were tougher to watch.

The first was Freddie Gauthier’s backhand that chased Carter Hutton. This goal wasn’t so much a lapse by any one player on the ice. At the core, it was simply a bigger player utilizing good body position against a smaller one, but it highlights some of the oddities about Buffalo’s defensive zone coverage. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 7.20 – Botterill Speaks, Now What?

Jason Botterill held court with the press and gave his head coach a vote of confidence. He also reinforced his previous claims of the deals he’s looking to make ahead of the deadline. We air some frustrations with Botterill’s apparent approach and break down some of the recent deals to break, including Charlie Coyle to Boston and Jakub Silfverberg’s extension in Anaheim. We also offer up a few thoughts on Jeff Skinner, trying to cool off any concerns people may have regarding whether or not he’ll be signing an extension in Buffalo.

You can listen to The Instigator Podcast on most podcast streaming services, including large providers such as iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio and TuneIn and most other third-party podcast streaming apps. You can find links to subscribe and rate the show below:

iTunes
Spotify
Stitcher
iHeartRadio
TuneIn
Google Play

Will Shuffled Lines Spark the Middle of Buffalo’s Lineup?

The search for secondary scoring has been arduous for the Sabres. While there have been glimpses of effective goal support from players not named Eichel or Skinner, it’s hardly come on a consistent basis.

Splitting up the Skinner-Eichel-Reinhart line had been floated for some time given the incredible lack of scoring from any other portion of the lineup. Heading into Friday in Carolina, it looks like Phil Housley will separate the trio in an attempt to get a few more lines going against the Canes.

They might be catching Carolina at the wrong time says the guys at Mytopsportsbooks.com. The ‘Canes have won five straight heading into their tilt with Tampa Bay on Thursday night and have scored at least four goals in four straight games. Even with Jack Eichel set to come back, facing a team that’s been filling the net doesn’t make for an ideal matchup for a team whose secondary scoring has come and gone. The one silver lining is Carolina’s goaltending has been about as streaky as Buffalo’s secondary scoring, which could favor Buffalo’s chances to string together back-to-back wins since December 11 and 13. Continue reading