The Instigator Podcast 9.14 – Stalled Development

It seems like every season there’s at least one or two prospects you wish the Sabres would take a longer look at and inevitably a couple of seasons later the player is gone without ever getting a serious audition at the NHL level. We talk about a number of players the Sabres should be working harder to get into the lineup rather than continually running out the tired veterans they seem to insist on playing.

We also discuss this week’s 31 Thoughts and the implications the Pegulas decisions on thinning out the hockey department may have in both the short and long term. Video scouting, shortsighted decision making and the need to capitalize on draft capital were among the big points we touched on with regard to some of Buffalo’s questionable decision making.

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

 

Firing Krueger is Only Starts to Solve the Sabres Problems

What’s left to say at this point?

I started this blog in the summer of 2010 as a way to keep writing and it quickly became another outlet for staying connected to hockey. It’s always been an enjoyable endeavor, but I guess I underestimated the Sabres’ ability to ruin a good thing.

I’ve never had all that much trouble finding a reason to write about the Sabres, but here we are. There’s only so many ways you can look at this car wreck and form a different opinion. Last year I wrote a post questioning what sort of standard the organization is run with. When you see teams around the league fire their coaches while in a playoff position, it’s hard to see how the Sabres operate on the same level of their peers.

Another season has been flushed, the players have very clearly quit on their coach and there’s no sign that anything will make things better. Ralph Krueger has been a dead man walking for weeks, probably going as far back as February 25 when Jeff Skinner was scratched for the third-straight game. Despite the 11-game losing streak and the horrific display the team has put out each night, it’s hard to see Krueger being fired any time soon. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 9.13 – The NHL is Back on ESPN

It’s been a long time coming, but the NHL and ESPN are working together again. The NHL will be back on ESPN this fall after the two sides came to a new television deal in the United States. We discuss what the new deal means for the NHL from a financial and exposure standpoint. Especially interesting is the significant streaming aspect to the deal and just what that might mean for getting the league in front of new fans.

With more drama surrounding Ralph Krueger, we also weigh in on the latest with Buffalo’s head coach. Including whether or not Krueger is on the verge of being fired and just who might be on tap to replace him if it comes to that.

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 9.12 – Hot Seats and New Breweries

The Sabres spiral has continued and with each loss, Ralph Krueger’s seat appears to get hotter. We talk about the strange decisions made by Krueger on and off the ice along with some of the other news surrounding the team from the past week.

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: Rebuilds, Coaches and GMs, Oh My

Congratulations to the Sabres for once again failing to play a meaningful game in March. This season comes with the added bonus of having started in January.

As a result of the current state of the only Buffalo pro sports team competing, this week’s mailbag is a little bleak. We have questions on rebuild potential, prospects and the owners. Continue reading

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.

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

Boom or Bust: Five Factors for the Sabres Season

After 300 days the Sabres will be back on the ice this week, kicking off the 2020-21 season. Their lengthy layoff was punctuated by the same sort of turmoil that has followed them in recent years as Jason Botterill was given a vote of confidence before being fired shortly thereafter.

A large chunk of hockey staff were handed their walking papers along with the entire Rochester coaching staff. With additional bad press surrounding ownership due to layoffs on the business side of the organization, they landed on Kevyn Adams as their next GM.

Adams’ first offseason was a bit of a roller coaster. The acquisitions of Taylor Hall and Eric Staal were big wins but questions linger over the selection of Jack Quinn at eighth overall and the decision to let Dominik Kahun walk. Meanwhile, the jury is out on the Cody Eakin and Tobias Rieder signings. It seems the offseason was a success for Adams with a few expected hiccups.

Now, on the eve of the season, the Sabres face a tough division and yet another uphill battle to ending their playoff drought. While the East Division may not be as tough as initially thought, the Sabres are hardly a shoo-in for the postseason. But the NHL has produced its fair share of darkhorse playoff qualifiers and with just a few sly moves (and a bit of luck) the Sabres might find themselves in the postseason for the first time since 2011. So what are the boom or bust factors for the Sabres in 2020-21? 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.