The Instigator Podcast Interview featuring former Sabre Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre

Despite a fairly short period of time with the Sabres organization, Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre was one of my absolute favorites growing up. Which made his guest spot on The Instigator Podcast a real treat for me. Jean-Luc joined the show to discuss what he’s been up to since his retirement from hockey, highlights from his time in Buffalo and offers insight on transitioning from an established NHL club to an expansion franchise. Jean-Luc also works with Belfry Hockey and he offered up some excellent feedback on trends in youth hockey today including key areas of focus for developing players.

One interesting tidbit we learned is that he has long had a deep love for goaltending and he has picked up the position since retiring from the pro game. He makes a very interesting comparison in his game with another former Sabre. Check it out:

Ranking the Greatest Masks in Sabres History

For a club with nearly 50 years of history, the Sabres sometimes lack a laundry list of alumni at certain positions. Goaltender is one of these, where the Sabres have seen quite a bit of longevity and their fair share of star power compared to their league brethren.

This longevity has bred quite a few hare-brained debates regarding starters at the position but also leaves the team with a smaller pool of alumni than other teams can claim when it comes to trivial things such as ranking goalie helmet designs. With the Sabres at the center of their fair share of negative articles, it seems like a good a time as any to share my favorite Sabres goal mask designs as a way to distract, even for a short while, from a season that’s as dreary as anyone can remember.

I’ve put together what I feel are the ten best masks in Sabres history with a few honorable mentions filtered in when appropriate. Each ranking was based on a single mask a goalie wore as a Sabre (except when multiple masks were considered) and the overall paint job was considered. Bonus points for minute details common on modern masks didn’t factor in since that created the potential for excluding older masks.

Like any good listicle, I’ll go in order from ten to one, so if you’re impatient just scroll to the bottom. Disagreements and debate are welcome, be sure to share them in the comments section or via Twitter. Continue reading

Sabres Pipe Dream: A New Web Series

Given the on-ice struggles of the Sabres, the Beyond Blue and Gold series may just be the best thing to come out of First Niagara Center in the past few years. The web series has done a brilliant job in highlighting the players away from the rink while also showcasing the phenomenal video production team the Sabres and Pegula Sports boasts.

Can I touch your face? Just for a second.
Can I touch your face? Just for a second.

The lone complaint I’ve ever had about the show is how short the episodes are. I’m typically left wanting more out of each episode and while I appreciate and understand the shooting schedule and production that goes into each episode, I still feel like I want each episode to run a little longer. With that in mind, I started thinking about how the team could expand their web video offerings and came up with an idea for a new web series the team could run.

What I eventually cooked up via text with fellow 2ITB contributor Tyler Roeder was an idea for a studio show that focuses solely on analysis of the team. Unlike Beyond Blue and Gold, this show wouldn’t be feature based but almost like an expanded version of the postgame show with video breakdown, opponent previews and the like. No call ins, a weekly web series going through what the Sabres have been up to on the ice. Continue reading