The Instigator Podcast 11.14 – Sabres Status Report After 25 (Plus Three) Games

The Sabres have played 28 games and it feels like a good time to take an assessment of their progress thus far. We talk about our choice for MVP, top rookie and breakout performer through the first portion of the year. We also touch on what’s been the most frustrating and disappointing aspects of the season to this point. Also on this week’s show: a discussion over the Bo Horvat and Jesse Puljujarvi trade speculation and a brief rundown of the potential Sabres attendees at the World Junior Championships. Plus some thoughts on Matt Savoie not receiving an invite to Team Canada’s camp.

The Instigator Podcast 10.26 – Sabres Laying Groundwork for Re-Engagement

The hockey world has reacted to the war in Ukraine, as Russia and Belarus have been suspended from international play by the IIHF and the 2023 World Junior Championships have been removed from Russia as well. Additional hockey-related sanctions have been placed on the two countries and we discuss the fallout that will come from the actions taken by both sides, from a hockey perspective. We also discuss the new initiatives being take by the Sabres in an effort to re-engage with their season ticket holders and fanbase as a whole. With a new VP of Ticketing, steps are being taken to open new avenues to connect with the fanbase and get butts back in the seats.

The Instigator Podcast 10.17 – Krebs and Peterka Arrive for Sabres Holiday Return

Peyton Krebs and JJ Peterka are poised to make their Sabres debuts as the team finally gets back to playing after an extended absence due to the league’s COVID influenced pause. We chat about how the pair will factor into the lineup along with another debutant: Alex Tuch. Beyond our excitement with Buffalo’s recent recalls, we also chat about the cancellation of the women’s U18 World Championships, how COVID has impacted the World Juniors and other topics from the past week in the NHL.

The Instigator Podcast 9.2 – Catching a Taxi Squad

The NHL season is just a few weeks away and clarification has finally come down with regard to the league’s schedule and the key dates for the season. This week’s episode touches on the dates for the start of the season, the trade deadline, playoffs, the draft and more. Among the new additions for the season is a taxi squad that each team will be able to leverage for additional roster flexibility. We discuss the most strategic approach for the Sabres to take with the taxi squad and whether or not we envision the group being used as a development tool or for older call ups as the season progresses. We also touch on the helmet ads coming for the 2020-21 NHL season and the outlook for Jack Quinn and Dylan Cozens at the World Junior Championship.

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 8.16 – World Junior Preview with Kris Baker

Kris Baker joins this week’s show as we look ahead to the World Junior Championship and the various Sabres prospects who will be participating in this year’s tournament. Also on tap is a look at the decision to send Casey Mittelstadt to Rochester and how Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has looked since returning from injury.

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The Instigator Podcast 7.16 – Post-WJC Sabres Pipeline Assessment

The Sabres had three prospects take home hardware at the 2019 World Junior Championship including two with gold as Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Oskari Laaksonen helped lead the Finns to a championship. That prompted a conversation over the health of Buffalo’s pipeline. Thanks to some promising mid-round selections the Sabres blueline appears to have some long-term promise while they’re in need of a bit more firepower at forward.

You can listen to The Instigator Podcast on most podcast streaming services, including large providers such as iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio and TuneIn and most other third-party podcast streaming apps. You can find links to subscribe and rate the show below:

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The Instigator Podcast 7.14 – Berglund Decision Gives the Sabres the Gift of Cap Space

The fallout from Patrik Berglund’s suspension has resulted in the Sabres moving to terminate his contract. This looks to be a massive coup for the Sabres as they gain cap relief both now and in the future. We discuss just what this decision means for Buffalo’s cap and contract situation, their roster construction and the process involved in making this type of decision. Along the way we also touch on the 2019 World Junior Championship, the Sabres prospects participating and which team we think has the best shot at taking home the gold.

More Thoughts on the World Juniors

Waiting two full years for the World Juniors to arrive at our door once again will certainly test the patience of Western New York’s hockey fans.

The build up to the tournament will certainly bring plenty of cries about #OneBuffalo, #Buffalove and the like. What I hope to see more of is chatter and planning over activities surrounding the tournament.

The NHL Fan Fair from All Star weekend. A simply copy/paste of this in the Convention Center could certainly be a nice addition to the 2018 festivities.

Downtown Buffalo is a much different place today than it was in 2011 and I hope to see it change even more before the start of the 2018 tournament. But outside of big development projects, I’m hoping the city adopts an Olympic-type vibe for the 2018 tourney. I’m thinking of various activities and attractions around town. Pulling inspiration from All Star weekend or the non-event attractions many Olympic cities utilize. Continue reading

World Juniors can Serve as a Catalyst for Downtown

The countdown to the 2018 World Junior Championships in on. We’re just about two years away, on the nose, from the start of the tournament which will culminate in early January 2018.

That’s two full years before the eyes of (most of) the hockey world are directed on Buffalo. Two years to plan and two years to prepare the city.

Based on Buffalo’s previous run as a host in 2011 and subsequent USA Hockey and IIHF events hosted in Buffalo, it’s clear that the Sabres organization has their ducks in a row when it comes to hosting international events. I have little doubt that the efforts made by the Sabres will eclipse the work that made the 2011 tournament a success.

While every ticket at the 2011 event wasn’t sold – in fact there were many Team USA games with open sections of seats – I don’t think it’s a stretch to expect a better turnout for 2018. That’s without taking the planned outdoor game into account. Western New York’s hockey culture continues to grow and if the participants are sold the right way I’d expect to see fans turn out well. One of the many goals that needs to be met by the 2018 WJC

The biggest area of opportunity, in my opinion, is how the players, media and fans who are converging on Buffalo will feel about the city. Two of the more infamous moments of the 2011 tournament were the criticisms leveled by European journalists and Emerson Etem of Team USA. Etem’s comments on the city brought boos from the home crowd whenever he touched the puck in following games. Having home fans boo one of Team USA’s own was terrific.

Obviously the city and region have grown quite a bit in the past five years. The improvements will certainly reflect well upon new and return visitors. However, there’s so much positive energy downtown that the World Junior tournament could serve as the catalyst to wrap up some of the most promising projects in the city. Continue reading