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.

No Need to Fret Over NHL Helmet Ads

The NHL took a monumental step in allowing teams to place ads on their helmets for the 2020-21 season.

See, this is fine.

So far, the decision is being described as an effort to make good on lost advertising from the shortened 2019-20 season. The helmet ads are said to be a one-year effort in an attempt to make up lost revenue from last year. Whether that decision holds remains to be seen. It’s hard to imagine the league and teams will happily turn away whatever advertising dollars can be generated by the ongoing placement of ads on helmets.

At the very least the status quo will be different for this coming year. Ads have made their way to the NHL’s uniforms, that ice has been broken, just a few short years after the NBA placed ads on their jerseys. The NHL’s jerseys remain untouched for now and I suspect they’ll remain that way for at least a few more years.

Even if this doesn’t wind up as a one-year trial, the helmet ads ought to satiate the league, owners and advertisers enough that nothing is added to the jersey. Gary Bettman has described the jerseys as sacred and I can take him at his word on that. If helmet ads are the trade-off for the jerseys remaining untouched, possibly indefinitely, that’s a fair trade to take. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 9.1 – Ready to Roll with the 2020-21 Season

We’re back for season nine and we’re looking ahead to what promises to be another unusual year for the Buffalo Sabres and the NHL. With the announcement of the 56-game season and realigned divisions, we discuss the outlook for the Sabres and the path they’ll need to follow in order to break their playoff drought. We also touch on the World Junior Championship and the Sabres prospects who are likely to be participating in the event this season.

The Instigator Podcast: Fabric of the Game with Chris Creamer and Todd Radom

It was a great pleasure to have Chris Creamer and Todd Radom join the podcast to discuss their new book Fabric of the Game. It’s a tremendous book that details the history of the jerseys and logos of the NHL. Todd and Chris discuss the impetus for the book, the countless hours of research it took to compile some of the incredible stories in the book and some of their favorite bits of the text. We also talk about their personal favorite aspects of uniform design and the NHL’s Reverse Retro line.

Ranking the NHL’s Reverse Retro Jersey Collection

The NHL’s newest jersey initiative was formally introduced today, with the Adidas Reverse Retro alternate jersey set unveiled for all 31 teams. The premise was to put a modern spin on a jersey from each team’s history. There doesn’t appear to be any hard and fast rules for how the designs were picked as most put a club’s current colors onto an old design. But others borrow vintage colors or even use throwback designs in the case of the Hurricanes and Avalanche.

It’s a jersey collection that could have easily strayed into questionable territory but taking in all 31 designs, there’s really only a couple which aren’t overly appealing. Perhaps most importantly is what this represents for the league. This is a new take on a jersey program which puts the onus on designs which will be fun for fans to see on the ice and hanging in their closet. This is a big step forward for a league that’s often seen as too boring and conservative. Not to mention it’s going to be an excellent revenue source in a time when any penny earned will go a long way.

Naturally, with a host of new jerseys to enjoy, the only logical course of action is to rank each of the designs. I look forward to hearing how wrong my rankings are in the comments or on social media. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 8.36 – Balancing the Sabres Internal Budget

TSN’s Frank Seravalli reported that the Sabres are expecting to operate with an internal budget which could drop as low as $70 million. We spend time talking about whether or not the Sabres could effectively operate at that figure (they can’t) and what steps they can take to come close to achieving a tighter budget when it comes to spending on the team. We also touch on the hiring of Peter Laviolette and Bill Zito, the new contract for Jonas Brodin and the Nick Bjugstad trade.

The Instigator Podcast 8.34 – NHL Postpones Playoff Action

This week’s episode begins with a discussion of the decision by the NHL’s players to push for postponement of Thursday and Friday’s games as a response to the Black Lives Matter movement. If you don’t wish to listen to that portion of the conversation because the Black Lives Matter movement triggers you in some way, I’d recommend you fast forward to the 26 or 27 minute mark of the show when we begin discussing the Kasperi Kapanen trade and a potential trade partner for the Sabres.

The Instigator Podcast Interview Featuring Julie Stewart-Binks

Julie Stewart-Binks, host of Drinks with Binks and Call it a Night with Julie Stewart-Binks on fubo Sports Network joined the show this week for a wide ranging conversation that touched on everything from the NHL bubble, qualifiers and Premier League soccer.

We discuss how COVID-19 has altered the landscape for how sports are going to be broadcast in addition to how her shows have been affected by coronavirus as well. Along the way we touch on NHL hub cities, the pros and cons of how sports may return and get a deeper look into the two shows Julie hosts on fubo Sports Network.

You can catch Drinks with Binks on the fubo Sports Network on Friday’s at 8:00 or 24/7 on www.fubosportsnetwork.com as well as Pluto, XUMO, The Roku Channel, Samsung TV Plus, Vizio, and to subscribers to fuboTV. If you want to learn more about fubo and fuboSN, visit www.fubosportsnetwork.com or follow them at @fubosports on social. Also, be sure to follow Julie on Twitter and enjoy the show.

The Instigator Podcast 8.30 – NHL Return to Play Schedule Reported as CBA Extension Looms

With new news being reported about the schedule the NHL will be following for completing the 2019-20 season, we run through the key dates for the coming months on this week’s show. This includes the schedule for the qualifying round and playoffs, when the offseason will begin and when the 2020-21 season is set to start. We run through the entire schedule and how it could affect not just the end of the 2020 season, but how the coming year could look due to fatigue, rust and other extenuating circumstances. Also on the show are segments on Lindy Ruff’s hiring in New Jersey, Judd Brackett being hired by the Wild and the report that Rick Dudley won’t be coming to Buffalo.

The Instigator Podcast 8.26 – NHL Return to Play & The Sabres Enter the Offseason

We’re back with a new episode after a long layoff but it feels like we never left. The Sabres have missed the playoffs once again, the GM (and owner!) put his foot in his mouth and a player insinuated that he’d like to be traded. In addition to touching on the Sabres post mortem, we run through the NHL’s return to play plan. While we generally favor the playoff format, we cook up a couple of different takes for the draft lottery.