Ryan Lambert

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  • [Author's note: Power rankings are usually three things: Bad, wrong, and boring. You typically know just as well as the authors which teams won what games against who and what it all means, so our moving the Red Wings up four spots or whatever really doesn't tell you anything you didn't know. Who's hot, who's not, who cares? For this reason, we're doing a power ranking of things that are usually not teams. You'll see what I mean.]

    6. Not being able to see a few hours into the future

    On Monday I brought up Matt Cooke's status as a repeat offender who was told to stop acting like a piece of garbage who tried to injure everyone all the time, and did so successfully across three seasons for two different teams.

    But then about 10 hours after that published, Cooke went knee-to-knee on Tyson Barrie, and every columnist who never forgave him or thought they saw through his pretty transparent media campaign following his alleged transformation into St. Francis of Assisi got to break out a

    Read More »from Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Repeat offenders, Lady Byng and overtime thrillers
  • What We Learned: Boston Bruins hypocrisy already dialed up to 11

    Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.

    As if things hadn't gone sideways enough in Boston when Shawn Thornton slew-footed and concussed Brooks Orpik just days after talking about how he's viewed as being almost too honorable -- and in doing so highlighted everything that's awful about this current iteration of the Bruins.

    As if they needed the help being hated.

    There was no need at all for Milan Lucic to spear Danny DeKeyser in the nuts. None whatsoever. But that he did it at all shouldn't come as any kind of a surprise because this is Milan Lucic we're talking about here. You'll have to recall that he tried to spear Alexei Emelin in the same spot less than a month ago, and this too was a gutless sneak attack from behind that ended with Lucic casually skating away as though he'd done nothing

    Read More »from What We Learned: Boston Bruins hypocrisy already dialed up to 11
  • St. Louis Blues goalie Ryan Miller, left, and teammate David Backes prepare fore Game 1 of a first-round NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff series against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday, April 17, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

    Guys get hurt in hockey. Obviously.

    It's a tough sport and like the National Football League the injury rate in the NHL has to be pretty damn close to 100 percent. Even if you play all 82, you don't get through a whole season of checks and blocked shots and slashes and errant high sticks and crashing into the boards without picking up a knock or two along the way.

    It happens. A lot.

    But it seems that this year, it happens far more often than it should, at least in terms of impacting guys who are — or were — going to be able to make a big difference for their teams in these playoffs. There are a number of “name” players who are going to miss all or at least part of their teams' early playoff runs, and some more who are straight-up done for the year.

    The St. Louis Blues were never a particularly great team, for example, but they're also not the catastrophic failure of the last few weeks. Missing guys like TJ Oshie and David Backes and Vladimir Tarasenko and Vladimir Sobotka, and, yes,

    Read More »from New NHL playoff format: Instant gratification, diminishing returns (Trending Topics)
  • FILE - This Feb. 6, 2014 file photo shows Washington Capitals head coach Adam Oates on the bench in the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets, in Washington. Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals are fading. Ovechkin has gone without a point in the last four games, and his team has lost five of its past six to drop to 10th in the Eastern Conference. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

    [Author's note: Power rankings are usually three things: Bad, wrong, and boring. You typically know just as well as the authors which teams won what games against who and what it all means, so our moving the Red Wings up four spots or whatever really doesn't tell you anything you didn't know. Who's hot, who's not, who cares? For this reason, we're doing a power ranking of things that are usually not teams. You'll see what I mean.]

    8. The Leafs, still in the news

    In a shocking turn of events, the Toronto Maple Leafs did something this week to distract from the fact that they missed the playoffs again in spectacular fashion.

    Brendan Shanahan in, no one (as of today) out.

    Which is an odd way to go about things if you're an organization built, presumably, on accountability. After all, the terms “culture” and “identity” were thrown around a lot by Randy Carlyle and Dave Nonis, the two men at the helm of this shambolic wreck, and they've shown very little inclination to change it of their

    Read More »from Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Sewing Oates, the end of Trotz and delusional Brodeur
  • PHILADELPHIA – Viewed on an historical basis, this is a matchup that in and of itself should be incredibly lopsided. The No. 1 overall seed is the same team it has been for most of the season, and that's mighty Minnesota. The Golden Gophers have knocked down five NCAA titles in their time, sent scads of players to the NHL and other professional leagues, and in doing so become perhaps the most storied hockey program in NCAA history.

    In the other dressing room is Union, which has until recently been a team which often struggled to even make it to .500 for the season. Only in the past four years have they really established themselves as being a program worth revering, as they've sent very few players to the NHL, and have won no national hockey titles.

    The University of Minnesota is huge. Huge enrollment, huge sports and academic programs, huge every thing. Union is small. Small enrollment, liberal arts college, little in the way of national recognition.

    This game might change all that.

    Read More »from NCAA Frozen Four: Minnesota, Union title game shaping up as one for the ages
  • Colorado Avalanche’s success is unsustainable (Trending Topics)

    With the so-called hockey analytics movement, such as it is, outlier teams and their fans seem to mostly think theirs is the team that will prove the math wrong.

    That what they do to create the appearance of luck is, in fact, a repeatable skill that they're going to be able to churn out forever and ever under this system and with these players.

    That what they do is somehow different from the other teams, those that have already failed in much the same way the numbers say they will as well, and therefore it doesn't matter how badly they get outshot or how high their shooting percentage is or how much larger their goaltender inflates his save percentage over his career average.

    They're just going to keep winning. Because they're different.

    After all, how else does anyone explain how they've done it for this long? Outperforming the numbers over 80 or so games doesn't seem like it should be an easy thing. There's a lot of hockey in five or six months and if the numbers worked, then they'd

    Read More »from Colorado Avalanche’s success is unsustainable (Trending Topics)
  • NCAA hockey Frozen Four preview: Three old powers and a new one

    The NCAA Frozen Four begins this afternoon. Study up.

    NCAA hockey is nothing if not an old boys club. At the end of every season, you can usually count on a handful of the same old teams being there year after year after interminable year. This season is no different.

    From Hockey East, there's Boston College, winner of five national championships. That includes four since 2001 and three since 2008 and two since 2010 and one since 2012. Boston College, it seems, wins a lot, and especially lately.

    From the brand new Big Ten Hockey Conference, there's Minnesota, also winner of five NCAA titles. They haven't won since 2003, but when they did it that year, it was the second season in a row in which they pulled off the feat. Minnesota, of course, is one of the most storied programs in college hockey history.

    From the also-brand new National Collegiate Hockey Conference, there's seven-time winner North Dakota, which most recently took home the title in 2000. The former Sioux dominated the

    Read More »from NCAA hockey Frozen Four preview: Three old powers and a new one
  • [Author's note: Power rankings are usually three things: Bad, wrong, and boring. You typically know just as well as the authors which teams won what games against who and what it all means, so our moving the Red Wings up four spots or whatever really doesn't tell you anything you didn't know. Who's hot, who's not, who cares? For this reason, we're doing a power ranking of things that are usually not teams. You'll see what I mean.]

    6. Holding the bag

    The Canucks weren't exactly a mess this year and the underlying numbers point to their having been mostly unlucky, but nonetheless they're going to miss the playoffs; and in a market like that, someone had to pay.

    And so it was that Mike Gillis was let go after years of being viewed as perhaps one of the 10 best GMs in the league. I wrote a few weeks ago that this was inevitable, though one strains to see how doing it now, rather than after the end of the season, does anything but distract from this pointless final few games.

    Some would

    Read More »from Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Why Mike Gillis was canned; the Dave Bolland problem
  • What We Learned: Leafs, Jets and how goaltenders make or break a season

    Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.

    The Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets played each other on Saturday night on a game that turned out to be of great significance to the former, for reasons they'd probably like to forget.

    All the Leafs had to do, following wins over Calgary and — of all teams — Boston, was continue winning right on through to the end of the season to essentially guarantee themselves a playoff spot. It wouldn't be easy, but this was arguably the easiest leg of the four-game sojourn to the team's first postseason in an 82-game campaign in the last nine years. The Jets had already been eliminated from the postseason in the cutthroat Western Conference, and were starting their skating disaster of a goaltender, and had healthy-scratched Evander Kane for reasons that have

    Read More »from What We Learned: Leafs, Jets and how goaltenders make or break a season
  • In the NHL, and especially these days, you really can't walk around calling out your star players.

    Even if he didn't think Patrick Kane, for instance, didn't have a very good game on such-and-such a night, Joel Quenneville couldn't just drop the gauntlet and say he sucked, even if he did, to the assembled media. It creates problems, and would be better addressed during a practice or in the privacy of the dressing room after the game before reporters come in.

    With that having been said, it's not as though these players should be bulletproof. If Sidney Crosby does something egregiously awful and ends up costing the Penguins the game (not that this would happen), Dan Bylsma should feel free to say so. Moreover, one could say that such criticism could be used as a motivator that might not otherwise be available to him; you can't, after all, health-scratch Sidney Crosby.

    But that isn't really what Adam Oates did in calling out Alex Ovechkin for having “quit on the play, coming back.” The

    Read More »from Adam Oates is probably going to lose his job this summer (Trending Topics)

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