The Instigator Podcast 10.39 – Can McDavid Snag Conn Smythe Votes

Despite their Western Conference ouster, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl put on one of the most memorable playoff performances of recent memory. We discuss whether or not their play would be strong enough to garner attention for the Connn Smythe despite not reaching the Cup Finals.

We also touch on the waves rocking the boat in Boston as Bruce Cassidy was fired earlier this week, three key veterans will miss the start of the season and now rumors are swirling that David Pastrnak may be dealt in the summer. We analyze Boston’s outlook in the wake of this news and even find time to talk about Chris Osgood in the Hall of Fame as part of Chris’ 11 Day Powerplay fundraiser.

The Instigator Podcast 10.38 – Ramping Up to the Conference Finals

We run down both the Eastern Conference Finals and Western Conference Finals now that the NHL’s second round is complete. We touch on the no speed limit Western Conference Final and the goaltending battle that looms in the east.

We also discuss the signing of Isak Rosen and how the Sabres might manage his development in Rochester or Sweden during the 2022-23 season.

The Instigator Podcast 10.32 – Betting Hockey with Jason Moser of PuckLuck.com

Jason Moser of PuckLuck.com joined the show this week to discuss the way he applies advanced analytics to betting NHL games and how his model can help give bettors an edge in winning hockey bets. We discuss how he developed the model using common analytics such as expected goals and how those models are applied to determine which NHL games offer the best opportunity for betting wins on a night-to-night basis.

We also touch on how models such as Jason’s can be applied to areas such as fantasy hockey. All of the information can be found on Jason’s site, puckluck.com, which is free and available to the public. We talk at length about the sort of information he provides on the site and how it is structured to help you win more bets.

The Instigator Podcast 10.20 – Maintenance Days with Joe Yerdon

One half of the Maintenance Day podcast team joined the show this week as Joe Yerdon was back once again. Unfortunately, Lance Lysowski was unable to join for our roundtable discussion. We touch on the Sabres difficult injury luck and how they will be addressing their goaltending pipeline as Devon Levi and Erik Portillo continue to impress in the NCAA. We also touch on the NHL’s announcement of rescheduled games and how the stretch run is going to be a challenge for teams to handle as the games will be coming fast and furious.

The Instigator Podcast 10.15 – More COVID Issues Running through the NHL

COVID outbreaks continue to impact the NHL schedule as this week has seen a number of teams impacted by positive tests and game postponements. We discuss how these most recent outbreaks are affecting the NHL schedule and what influence it may have on the league’s ability to send players to the Olympics. Also on the docket is the impressive play of Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and how he may be influencing Buffalo’s choices in net. Lastly, we touch on the World Junior Championships rosters, the Sabres prospects expected to participate and who we predict to take home gold in this year’s tournament.

The Instigator Podcast 10.13 – Changes in Montreal and COVID Concerns for the Olympics

It was a huge news week in the NHL as the Montreal Canadiens fired Marc Bergevin, cleaned house with the rest of their front office and brought in Jeff Gorton to head up the hockey department. We discuss everything surrounding the moves and the difficulty in Montreal continuing to maintain hiring French speaking executives and coaches. Elsewhere, the Penguins have new owners in Fenway Sports Group and more COVID cases may just threaten the NHL’s ability to send players to the Olympics.

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A Solution to the NHL’s Olympic Problem

After the NHL ended nearly 20 years of Olympic participation at the 2018 PyeongChang games, they’re set to return to the 2022 games. At least for the time being.

The first COVID hiccup of the 2021-22 season has caused the Senators to postpone games and immediately set off alarm bells regarding the NHL’s ability to withdraw from the games should additional postponements occur. How this all proceeds depends on a whole lot of factors no one can predict. The current surge in COVID cases certainly doesn’t bode well for avoiding additional outbreaks and postponements. But there’s no way to know if and when exactly another outbreak could come.

This all puts a cloud of uncertainty around if players will ultimately play in Beijing as it sounds like the league is happy to find any excuse to avoid actual participation in the games. That’s disappointing for anyone who relishes the opportunity to watch the best-on-best tournament and savors the quadrennial event. Whether or not NHL players ultimately make the trip to China for the 22 games won’t be officially determined in January, but it seems likely that if another postponement or two occurs in November or December, the league would pull the plug.

Hopefully it doesn’t come to that and the league’s stars are able to represent their countries once again. A men’s tournament with NHL talent is the best possible outcome for the event and would ideally shed more light on the women’s tournament which will have Canada and the US on another gold medal collision course.

The issues with the NHL at the Olympics are well documented at this point. The league is not shy about advertising their position on the matter, though I can’t help but think their inability to capitalize on their participation has more to do with how they manage the event and less to do with shutting down for a period each Olympic cycle.

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The Instigator Podcast 10.5 – Opening Night for the NHL on ESPN

We celebrate and discuss the opening night for ESPN and the NHL as the pair are officially together once again. We discuss some of the new features released in the days leading up to the season and the encouraging outlook from the first night of their broadcast. We also touch on the Sabres post-camp roster and have an in-depth conversation about where JJ Peterka should be playing.

The Instigator Podcast Episode 10.4 – NHL Season Preview with a Twist

We tried a slightly different approach with our season preview pod. Instead of trying to fit every team into the allotted time, we picked a few standout stories we think could surprise fans should they play out this season. We also serve up an update on Jack Eichel and run down the latest outlook on the Sabres roster as the season opener approaches.

The Definitive Hockey Jersey Number Rankings

What number you wear can often be a big part of a player’s hockey identity. Some players care more than others about the number they don, but even for those who are indifferent to them, those numbers help connect players with young fans and can even have sentimental value. Like it or not, numbers are a big part of what can make this game great.

Of course, some numbers are better than others. This is especially true in hockey where the history of certain numbers carries with it a certain folklore that others lack. Think of Vladislav Tretiak and his disciples wearing 20 in the crease or how number 19 became synonymous with Steve Yzerman and Hockey Canada. Hockey numbers are part of the sport’s lore and the good ones deserved to be honored.

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