Ryan Lambert

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  • Calculated struggles of the Carolina Hurricanes (Trending Topics)

    The Carolina Hurricanes became the first official seller of any consequence in this year’s trade season by sending Ron Hainsey (with half the AAV on his expiring contract retained) to Pittsburgh for a second-round pick and an AHLer.

    And why not? The ‘Canes entered the day 10 points out in the East, playing in the toughest division in hockey. Ron Francis saw the writing on the wall and dumped a 35-year-old depth defender on a team that, all of a sudden, desperately needed blue line help. In doing so, they bumped the total number of picks they have in June’s draft to nine, and that number now includes six in the first three rounds alone.

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    If they’re smart — and they, of course, very much are — that number will continue to climb as the deadline approaches and, perhaps ahead of the draft. This is a team with some moderately sellable assets. Maybe someone wants Viktor Stalberg. Maybe someone wants Jay McClement.

    Read More »from Calculated struggles of the Carolina Hurricanes (Trending Topics)
  • SUNRISE, FL – FEBRUARY 3: Jonathan Huberdeau #11 of the Florida Panthers heads out to the ice for warm ups prior to the start of their game against the Anaheim Ducks at the BB&T Center on February 3, 2017 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

    (In which Ryan Lambert takes a look at some of the biggest issues and stories in the NHL, and counts them down.)

    7. Putting your foot down

    Shout out to Brooks Laich, a player who has a $4.5 million AAV and six points in the AHL this season, who got put on waivers Tuesday because he wasn’t in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ plans and wants the chance to play for a contender.

    A Stanley Cup contender.

    Which, come on, man. It’s important to have a big drive to compete as a professional athlete. That much is obvious. But when that drive to compete is also, like, making a 33-year-old with six points in the AHL and a huge contract say things like, “I want to play for a competitive team,” well, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate.

    Read More »from Hockey Day in America, the Calder race and the Panthers (Puck Daddy Countdown)
  • PUCK LISTS are lists of hockey things. They run every Thursday on Puck Daddy, except today, because today is special.

    A mere 37 years ago — and really it feels like just yesterday — the United States played in a hockey game. You might have heard of it. It was called: an Olympic semifinal I mean the Miracle On Ice.

    Oh yeah, the United States of America back when it was really great was able to beat the Soviet Union (or “Russia” in today’s parlance) in a game without broader implications or the transference of anxieties. Obviously, no one analogized something as trivial as a hockey game with geopolitical tensions or the clash of two powerful economic ideologies that had dominated the global landscape for decades.

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    What’s so amazing about this game, which was a literal miracle performed by the capitalist God of America and not at all a demonstration of random chance in action, is that very few people talk about on

    Read More »from Miracle On Ice: 7 unbelievable facts the Russians really hate (Puck Lists)
  • NCAA Hockey 101: Hockey East comes down to the final weekend

    BOSTON, MA – JANUARY 28: Boston University Terriers goalie Jake Oettinger (29) makes a blocker save as Massachusetts-Lowell River Hawks forward Jake Kamrass (21) looks to redirect the shot. BU hosts UMass-Lowell in a Hockey East game at Agganis Arena in Boston on Jan. 28, 2017. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

    Last week in this space, the ECAC’s tight race to the regular-season title got full attention.

    And after the weekend’s results, the race is a little less tight. Only three teams can finish first in the conference now, with St. Lawrence having earned just one point on the weekend while Cornell took three points and both Union and Harvard earned sweeps. The Dutchmen lead the conference by a single point, and the race will almost certainly come down to the last night of the season, when Union heads to Cornell and Harvard hosts St. Lawrence.

    And yet, somehow, it’s even tighter in Hockey East. Four teams can still finish first. And all of them are playing each

    Read More »from NCAA Hockey 101: Hockey East comes down to the final weekend
  • What We Learned: Why Bruce Boudreau might be the best coach alive

    (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.)

    It is generally accepted that Mike Babcock, or maybe Joel Quenneville, is the best coach in the NHL.

    You see all the success they’ve had for years and years, getting winning hockey out of good or even great teams despite immense pressure. They have the Cups. They’ve proven plenty.

    But here’s a question that’s been nagging for at least a few weeks now: What if Bruce Boudreau is better?

    The idea there, obviously, is that Boudreau does more with less. Yeah, those Washington Capitals teams had Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Semin and Mike Green in their primes (and if they’d also had Holtby in his prime, well…) and those Anaheim Ducks teams had Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in their primes. It’s not like he hasn’t been blessed with talent throughout

    Read More »from What We Learned: Why Bruce Boudreau might be the best coach alive
  • Kevin Shattenkirk and the Oilers’ greatest need (Trending Topics)

    When the Oilers traded Taylor Hall for defensive help, then drafted Jesse Puljujarvi and signed Milan Lucic, there was a feeling that Hall’s lost offense would be replaced by committee.

    Well, it hasn’t really happened, has it? Adam Larsson has fewer points than Zack Kassian, Puljujarvi couldn’t get reliable ice time and got sent to the AHL (frankly it’s for the best), and Milan Lucic is having something of a nightmarish campaign.

    Lucic currently sits at just 11 goals and 31 points despite spending a huge chunk of his 5-on-5 minutes with Connor McDavid and getting nearly three minutes of power play time per game (third-most among Edmonton forwards). This after a 20-goal season in Los Angeles a year ago and, of course, all that ice time with a kid who’s turned Patrick Maroon into a 30-goal threat.

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    Maybe you chalk it up to bad luck. After all, Lucic is only shooting 9.5 percent right now, well below his career

    Read More »from Kevin Shattenkirk and the Oilers’ greatest need (Trending Topics)
  • Puck Lists: 9 NHL coaches on the hot seat

    DALLAS, TX – APRIL 29: Lindy Ruff of the Dallas Stars looks on during pregame warm up before the Stars take on the St. Louis Blues in Game One of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at American Airlines Center on April 29, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

    PUCK LISTS are lists of hockey things. They run every Thursday on Puck Daddy.

    The problem with coaching in the NHL today — as with the standings in the NHL today — is that there’s too much mediocrity.

    There are a few elite coaches (four or five is probably the max), a few very bad coaches (maybe only two or three) and then a whole lot of guys who are varying degrees of pretty good to pretty bad. But because coaches don’t always have the most control in the world over how well their teams do.

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    If you’re Mike Babcock, Bruce Boudreau, Joel Quenneville, or Claude Julien, you’re going to have

    Read More »from Puck Lists: 9 NHL coaches on the hot seat
  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 29: Brent Burns #88 of the San Jose Sharks poses for a portrait prior to the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Staples Center on January 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

    (In which Ryan Lambert takes a look at some of the biggest issues and stories in the NHL, and counts them down.)

    8. Gustav Nyquist

    “Obviously I didn’t mean to do that,” Gustav Nyquist said.

    What are you talking about, dude? I have never in my life seen someone try-to-do-that as much as Nyquist tried to spear Jared Spurgeon in the mouth. You can not-like the hit Spurgeon put on him in the first place, which is fair. The reaction is worthy of about 20 games.

    How can you not be sick of this crap? Every time a guy commits a suspension-worthy penalty, it’s always, “Yeah, I mean I saw his numbers for the four strides I took to get them before I jumped into the hit from behind but it was never my intention for him to get hurt. I’m not that kind of player. I’m glad

    Read More »from Nyquist's spear, Coyotes' arena drama and Burns' scoring (Puck Daddy Countdown)
  • NCAA Hockey 101: As ECAC winds down, it's anyone's league

    BOSTON, MA – JANUARY 5: Mike Vecchione #21 of the Union College Dutchmen warms up prior to a game against the Boston University Terriers during NCAA hockey at Agganis Arena on January 5, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Terriers won 5-4 in overtime. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

    Hockey East has gotten a lot of attention for its tightening standings, because four teams are within five points of first place in the conference, and schedules are lining up to make those races even tighter.

    Boston College plays Vermont and UMass Lowell to end the season, two tough battles. BU gets a mixed bag of UNH (easy) and Notre Dame (difficult). The Irish host Providence before visiting BU, both very stiff tasks. Providence returns from that trip out to Indiana to face UMass (guaranteed points). Lowell has a one-off with UMass before the BC weekend, and Vermont hosts Merrimack (not too bad) to end the year. Lots of points, lots of cannibalization to go around.

    But for as tough as the final

    Read More »from NCAA Hockey 101: As ECAC winds down, it's anyone's league
  • What We Learned: Getting a better look at the best goalies in the NHL

    MONTREAL, QC – FEBRUARY 05: Cam Talbot #33 of the Edmonton Oilers protects his net during the NHL game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on February 5, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Edmonton Oilers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 in a shootout. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

    There are just a few goalies who, over the course of the season, have really earned a lot of accolades for their work to this point.

    Everyone seems totally willing to give Devan Dubnyk the Vezina right this second, and for good reason. He leads the league in save percentages by seven points, and the two guys closest behind him have significantly fewer minutes played because they’re either a backup (Scott Darling) or missed a lot of time (Craig Anderson).

    The other guy who got that kind of attention this season, right up until he fell apart in the past month or so, was Sergei Bobrovsky, who was perhaps the most crucial driver of Columbus’s incredible early-season success. Even

    Read More »from What We Learned: Getting a better look at the best goalies in the NHL

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