Good friend of the pod Rob LaLonde was back in town and we got together to talk about how things are going with his company, Buttendz, as more and more NHL pros can be seen using Buttendz's awesome grips. We also discussed Rob's trip to the 2018 Winter Games and the work he's been doing with growing hockey programs in Korea, Japan, China and other growing hockey communities in Asia. Other topics include the Minnesota State Hockey Tournament, the Let's Play Hockey Expo and how influencer marketing is so effective in a sport like hockey.
I had the opportunity to meet up with Matt Keeler who is the founder of a Buffalo-based hockey lifestyle clothing company called Just Dishin Hockey. We spoke about how he grew Just Dishin from his dorm room at St. John Fisher into the company it is today while also discussing various topics from around the hockey world including different levels of collegiate club hockey and how so many people underestimate the product offered in those leagues.
Rasmus Dahlin is poised to become a Buffalo Sabre after the lottery balls bounced Buffalo's way, winning the 2018 NHL Draft Lottery. We discuss our reaction to the Sabres winning the lottery and what the implications of adding a player like Dahlin means for Buffalo from a talent and roster construction perspective.
Very excited to present the newest Instigator Interview with former Buffalo Sabres, Columbus Blue Jackets, Atlanta Thrashers and Washington Capitals defenseman Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre. Jean-Luc joined the show to discuss his time in Buffalo, what it was like to transition to an expansion franchise and some of the work he's doing with youth hockey and the trends in youth hockey development today. It was an absolute pleasure to speak with him about these topics as he shared some excellent stories from his time playing professional hockey and even dished on his love for goaltending - a position he's taken up since retiring from the professional game.
The playoffs are here and the Sabres are heading for the golf course. But that won't stop us from offering up our thoughts on the playoff field for 2018 and who we have as our Cup picks. Editor's note: We reserve the right to change our picks once it turns out our original predictions are incorrect.
The Sabres cleaned out their lockers after another ugly year and a few player had quite a bit to say as they looked back on the year. We break down some of the more outspoken reactions from Chad Johnson, Johan Larsson and Ryan O'Reilly. We also offer our thoughts on the tragedy in Humboldt and the outpouring of support from the hockey community.
On the heels of Alex Nylander being recalled, we discuss appropriate benchmarks for evaluating prospects and how his three-game trail will aid Jason Botterill in evaluating what he has in the 2016 first round pick. We also touch on Pierre LeBrun's recent report regarding Botterill's disappointment with his roster and some of the changes which might come about.
I was delighted to be joined by Goalie Gear Nerd for another edition of the Instigator Interview. Goalie Gear Nerd is one of my favorite social media accounts and he joined me to discuss the growth of his Twitter and Instagram accounts along with some more detailed discussion about the way goaltender equipment is trending today.
It's been a good week for the Sabres and signing draft picks. Will Borgen, Judd Peterson and Casey Mittelstadt all signed with the Sabres organization, putting to bed the ridiculous notion that the Sabres struggled to sign college players and that they'd ultimately lose their 2017 first round pick. Chris and Tyler discuss where Mittelstadt fits in the Sabres lineup, realistic expectations for his play and most importantly, the number he chose to wear.
Some very poor timing on illnesses to both Chris and Tyler caused an unusually long layoff for the podcast but we are back to share some post deadline discussion and to offer up an evaluation of both Phil Housley and Jason Botterill. Their inaugural season may not be done but it felt like a good time to evaluate where the Sabres are, what the pair has done well (not much) and what they've done poorly (maybe not as much as you think).