The Instigator Podcast 5.42 – Decompressing the Firings of Bylsma and Murray

In the wake of Dan Bylsma and Tim Murray’s firings, Chris and Tyler discuss what seems to be a knee jerk reaction by Terry and Kim Pegula and what the decision means for both the short and long term future of the team. We spend plenty of time talking about the terrible things Russ Brandon does and even offer some thoughts on who the Sabres should choose to replace their head coach and general manager.

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Pegulas Chart an Unclear Path With Today’s Firings

Maybe we should have seen the writing on the wall when Tim Murray was given an extension in the fall. If there’s one harbinger for unemployment in the Pegula sports empire it seems as if contract extensions are it.

The Pegulas have given out quite a few golden parachutes in recent years and you don’t need to look far on Twitter to find a list of all the coaches and GMs still on their payroll. You can now add Tim Murray and Dan Bylsma to that list after both were relived for their duties today.

The decision comes in the wake of a disappointing season where rumors of turmoil in the locker room and poor performance on the ice fueled fan frustration in another year without playoffs. Jack Eichel’s ankle injury on the eve of the new season cast an early shadow on the year, but it was Buffalo’s poor performance coming out of the bye week – when they were sniffing a playoff position – that seemed to truly doom the season.

Losses to Arizona and Colorado set off one of the worst stretches of the year for the Sabres and they quickly went from playoff contender to lottery hopeful due to their post-bye week collapse.  Questions over Bylsma’s effectiveness followed the team for most of the year, but they were particularly prevalent late in the year as complaints about the system and the team’s execution continued to mount. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 5.41 – Analyzing Bylsma’s Future in Buffalo

A big topic of conversation during Tim Murray’s final press conference centered around Dan Bylsma’s effectiveness as Buffalo’s head coach and what appears to be a rapidly closing window on his tenure. Prior to jumping into the outlook on Bylsma, Chris and Tyler offer up their playoff picks, some of which look a bit iffy after just a day and a half of action.

Something, Something Soft Sabres – An FJM Story

Jerry Sullivan put his hockey writing shoes on this week to pen a column on the failings of the Buffalo Sabres. I always look forward to his Sabres coverage because it’s impressive that someone who gets to one game per season has such a solid grasp on the pulse of the franchise.

Buffalo’s struggles this season are well documented as Tim Murray’s moves – or lack thereof – on the blueline were likely the primary reason for Buffalo’s failed season. But using the phrasing of soft sounds a bit off to me. I mean, have you watched how the league has evolved away from heavy, grinding teams in recent years? Considering the title of the column was already well off base, the content couldn’t be much better. So I thought I’d fire up the FJM engines and get to work. My additions to Jerome’s writing will be in bold. Continue reading

Petersen Should Start in the AHL, No Matter Where He Signs

There was no escaping the Jimmy Vesey debate last year, especially after the Sabres acquired his rights from Nashville. Will he or won’t he sign? He’s playing with Eichel in the summer, is that a sign? Now Sabres fans are enduring the same angst as they wait for news regarding Cal Petersen.

Should he choose to leave school, Petersen could become a free agent on June 1 and test the waters around the league to see which feels best. Like with Vesey, it’s a right he’s entitled to via the CBA.

Aside from Petersen, his family, advisor and maybe Tim Murray, no one really knows what’s going on at this point in time. But it stands to reason that the longer Petersen goes without a contract, the more likely it is that  he’s going to hit the open market.

It’s not out of the realm of possibility that he chooses to return to Notre Dame for his senior season, as we’re now two days removed from the end of the Sabres season and five days removed from Petersen’s exit from the Frozen Four with news of a contract yet to break. It’s not out of the question that Petersen would still sign with the Sabres, it just seems unlikely the further away from the end of the season we get. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 5.39 – Who Should the Sabres Protect in the NHL Expansion Draft?

Ennis? Bogosian? Moulson? Ullmark? Will the Sabres manage to pawn off a big salary on the Vegas Golden Knights or will Tim Murray have work to do in terms of which players he exposes and which players he protects. Chris and Tyler run down Buffalo’s options for the expansion draft while also hitting on the signing of CJ Smith, USWNT negotiations and Sam Reinhart’s benching.

The Instigator Podcast 5.37 – Do the Sabres have a Leadership Problem?

As the Sabres slide further from playoff contention, questions about roster construction, coaching and effort continue to be asked. We sit down this week to discuss rumors of a rift between the players and the coach and even between some of the players. Along the way we chat about how difficult it really is to find solid leadership if it isn’t homegrown.