The Buffalo Sabres have done a good job in the past year in bringing together a bunch of writers during their new media summits. The third iteratiorn featured 16 bloggers and had one major announcement to make.
The summit started with the major announcement of a new Sabres radio show on WGR that will replace Colin Cowherd. The show will be hosted by Kevin Sylvester, who will transition over from the pregame and postgame duties. To replace Sylvester on the broadcast, Brian Duff has been brought on full-time by the team to host the pre- and postgame shows.
From there, Ted Black took pre-selected questions from questions that were pre-submitted from the bloggers in the room. Most of the questions were general questions that were broken down into sections such as hockey operations, game presentation, and the team's involvement with the harbor and improvements to the city. The game presentation section also had a group discussion that allowed for discussion on any thoughts and concerns that the bloggers had.
After the group discussion there was a chance to ask questions that weren't brought up in the first question and answer session but most of the writers there stayed relatively quiet.
Some other highlights that may be of interest:
- There was a question asked about the team's interest in the ECHL's Elmira Jackals, or a similar franchise. If you aren't aware of the situation in Elmira, it is an absolute mess with the current ownership situation. At this time, the Sabres have no interest in trying own another team as they try and get the Americans situated and running as well. Does that mean it will never happen, no.
- I was curious as to what Ted Black's breaking point was in making changes and while he never actually answered the question, he did mention that the lowest point for him was the 10 game road losing streak in January. Coupled with the fact that the games weren't on television, people seemed to lose interest in the team
The summit format has changed and tweaked over the years and the size of the summit has hindered much of the charm of the first one. The first summit featured ten bloggers and lasted for three hours. When the writers left the room that night, no one left with the feeling that they didn't get the chance to ask the question that they wanted to. In the past two iterations, the Sabres have done a good job of bringing more people in, but in the process they have done a good job of controlling the message as well. The pre-screened questions meant that there wasn't much ad-libbing that Ted had to do and each answered felt relatively prepared.
Finally, yes we were one of the five sites that will be given full access to the locker room next season on a trial basis. We are excited at the opportunity and are looking forward to using the access to expand our coverage next season.