Questionable Lineup Choices Plague Sabres

The Sabres’ drama du jour has been all about Jeff Skinner and it doesn’t show any signs of ending as the team trudges towards another season without playoffs.

Skinner’s usage has been a focal point for going on two years now as the winger has bounced around the lineup but has rarely found himself in the spot most fans want him to be; playing beside Jack Eichel. His lack of playing in overtime, on the power play exacerbate the questions being asked about his contract, his influence on the roster and his relationship with Ralph Krueger.

This has all come to a head with three-straight scratches of one of the league’s best even strength scorers over the last decade. Lance Lysowski of The Buffalo News wrote an excellent piece on the Skinner situation and his agent’s call to Kevyn Adams that should be required reading for anyone thinking Skinner deserves to remain out of the lineup. Lance’s article lays out the statistical evidence that backs up just how bizarre it is that Skinner has been scratched the last three games. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 9.11 – Scratches, Injuries and Some Signs for Hope

While the last week and a half has been pretty rough on the Sabres, Tuesday night’s win over New Jersey was a nice respite. We close the show with some thoughts on the win but only on the heels of some tougher talking points on Buffalo’s injury luck and Ralph Krueger’s coaching decisions.

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

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.

Two in the Mailbox – No Need to Panic

The Sabres are back and while it’s only been one game but the team, and the fanbase, are up to their old tricks. Given the leadup to the season opener, and the game’s result, what better time than to do another mailbag?

We’ve got jersey numbers, the Jeff Skinner conundrum, coaching and more. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 9.5 – 2020-21 Buffalo Sabres Season Preview

As the Sabres prepare to hit the ice for the first time in nearly a calendar year, there is reason for some hope with Buffalo’s outlook for the 2020-21 season. The additions of Eric Staal and Taylor Hall creates the opportunity for the Sabres to ice a more formidable lineup and we discuss how the lines are shaping up and if they are putting the Sabres on a path to success for the year. We also touch on the difficult aspects of the East Division and some of the areas the Sabres may be able to exploit. We also give some love to the Bills as their playoff run shapes up before diving in on Jeff Skinner’s potential usage as the season begins.

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

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.

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:

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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:

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