The Instigator Podcast 9.27 – Remembering Rene Robert

The passing of Rene Robert struck the hockey world and the Sabres organization. We talk about the figure Robert was as a player and into his retirement for the Sabres. We also spend a few minutes talking about JJ Peterka after he signed his entry level contract and even touch on some signs of cautious optimism with regard to Buffalo’s draft capital and recent selections.

Staal Adds His Name to List of Buffalo Cameos

Eric Staal’s tenure with the Sabres will be largely forgettable. Traded after 32 games, three goals and 10 points, there will be few people who ever connect Staal to the Sabres.

He’s hardly the first notable player to have a cameo with the Sabres and hardly the first to have a rather minimal impact. He certainly won’t be the last (paging Taylor Hall). The list of notables whose Sabres tenure is barely a blip in relation to the rest of their career is pretty impressive. There’s a healthy mix of late stage trade or free agent acquisitions with early departures.  

I don’t know how Buffalo’s list compares to other teams around the league given that these scenarios are pretty commonplace. It’s not hard to come up with a handful of examples of notable stars having a cup of coffee with a team at the end of their career. Remember Dallas Star Eric Lindros? Calgary Flame Curtis Joseph? How about legendary Toronto Maple Leaf (or Boston Bruin) Brian Leetch.

Staal is the latest Sabre to get added to this rather ignominious list and he probably won’t even be the last one this season. Acquiring Staal was a shrewd move by Kevyn Adams. It’s unfortunate that the deal didn’t work out as Staal represented a quality upgrade at center behind Jack Eichel. The results didn’t follow and now we can catalog where Staal falls among others whose Sabres career isn’t the easiest to recall.

Staal’s 32 games falls right in the middle of this group of trade and free agent acquisitions who simply didn’t give the Sabres much bang for their buck.

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Twitter Homework: Which Group of Sabres Makes the Better Roster?

Mike Schopp asked a great question with the Twitter poll he sent out asking which group of jersey numbers would net the better all-time Sabres team.

It’s a great question which sparks some juicy debate. Do you go with goaltending (20-99) or the bulk of Buffalo’s retired numbers (0-19)? With the poll favoring 0-19, I have a feeling that the quick answer is representative of the first players you can think of within the two sets of digits he provided. It’s easy to come up with The French Connection, Pat LaFontaine, Mike Ramsey and Jack Eichel and go with 0-19 over Dominik Hasek and numbers 20-99.

But I felt with a little digging you’d find that you can form two very well-rounded teams from both sets of numbers. Teams which scope out to be closer than you may have thought initially. So I took it upon myself to dig into the Sabres’ number history and build what I feel are the two best teams from the groups of numbers provided in Schopp’s poll. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 8.35 – Featuring John Vogl of The Athletic

John Vogl of The Athletic joined the show this week to discuss his recent article on the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame. As a topic that’s held my attention in recent years, it was a surprise to learn about the unusual circumstances surrounding the management of the entity. We discuss how the organization which managed the Hall of Fame fell into disarray and how the Sabres have been left in the lurch as a result. Along the way we toss out a few candidates for future induction and hit on some roster-related topics as well.

Sabres History: The Seven Best Deadline Deals in Franchise History

The current state of the NHL has evolved to a state in which there are really only two days when teams make deals to shape their rosters; the draft and the trade deadline. Sure, there are still deals made between those two dates, but they’ve become few and far between in recent seasons.

Both dates are tantamount to holidays for hockey fans with deadline day being particularly significant for fans, pundits and teams. For a club that has just celebrated its 50th anniversary, the Buffalo Sabres have had their fair share of interesting deadlines.

Between another year without the playoffs and the COVID-induced delay, there hasn’t been too much to talk about from a Sabres perspective. A few minor signings and, of course, the hiring of Kevyn Adams, but it’s been a quiet few months on the hockey side. It’s a different story where the Pegulas’ lifestyle is concerned, but from a strictly hockey perspective, it’s been a low key summer.

As a result, I thought I’d spend a little time combing over the club’s history at the trade deadline. Whether or not the 20-21 deadline plays a major role in the shaping of the roster or long-term success of the club can’t be known, but there are 49 deadlines that have played such a role in one way or another.

I’ve compiled what I feel are the seven most notable deadline trades in club history. I worked to rate each deal based on the clout of each player involved and both the short- and long-term effects the pieces had on the organization. I allowed for a few day’s worth of wiggle room from the deadline, but no more than four or five days. The trades are listed in chronological order as opposed to a proper ranking. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 8.19 – Checking Out Buffalo Twenty/20

There’s a new Buffalo sports site in town and it’s taking on a very cool premise. Bill Kenney of Buffalo Twenty/20 joins the show to talk about the new site, some unique stories from the last 20 years of Buffalo sports and to opine on the current state of the Buffalo Sabres.

50 Moments for 50 Years: Part Two

The last 50 49 years of Sabres hockey have been filled with thrilling games, agonizing defeats and a few extremely weird occurrences. In line with some of the work The Buffalo News and The Athletic has done in celebrating the team’s anniversary, I wanted to take a look at some of the most seminal moments in franchise history.

This isn’t a ranking but an attempt to touch on the big benchmarks and memorable moments from the last 50 (49) years. Here is part two of the list: Continue reading

50 Moments for 50 Years: Part One

The last 50 49 years of Sabres hockey have been filled with thrilling games, agonizing defeats and a few extremely weird occurrences. In line with some of the work The Buffalo News and The Athletic has done in celebrating the team’s anniversary, I wanted to take a look at some of the most seminal moments in franchise history.

This isn’t a ranking but an attempt to touch on the big benchmarks and memorable moments from the last 50 (49) years. Here is part one of the two-part list. Continue reading

Reflecting on Some of the Most Noteworthy Trades in Sabres History

In 50 years of hockey, the Buffalo Sabres have swung their fair share of trades. From minor league swaps to marquee blockbusters, the club isn’t lacking when it comes to trade history.

Buffalo’s transaction history provides a beautiful cross section of NHL history. From the 70s and 80s eras where blockbusters came about regularly to the modern era where GMs are loathe to make any waves for fear of immediate retribution. In attempt to celebrate some of the club’s history, I ran down a list of some of the most noteworthy trades in franchise history. This isn’t a proper ranking or numbered list, nor is this meant to be a full accounting of every important trade in club history. Some of these trades in and of themselves are little more than blips on the radar, but they set the stage for bigger things down the road. Meanwhile, others are tried and true blockbusters, noteworthy for all the reasons you’d expect.

One thing that ties them all together is some sort of noteworthy feature or function, whether the inclusion of a franchise cornerstone or setting the wheels in motion for something bigger. Like laying the foundation to acquire a franchise cornerstone.

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