Ryan Lambert

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  • Puck Lists: 7 surprising recent 30-goal scorers

    TAMPA, FL – OCTOBER 18: Jonathan Marchessault #81 of the Florida Panthers takes a shootout attempt against Tampa Bay Lightning during the shootout period at the Amalie Arena on October 18, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

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

    So I’m watching Ducks/Flames on Tuesday night. Wild game. Lots of penalties. And for an increasingly probable first-round matchup, that’s something to keep an eye on for sure.

    But the weirdest thing happened. Early in the second period, Patrick Eaves scored a rebound goal on a nice faceoff play by Ryan Getzlaf, and the Ducks announcers say, “Oh that’s his 31st goal of the season.” And I was half-paying attention so I thought they meant Getzlaf has 31 assists or something.

    (For the record, Getzlaf very quietly has FIFTY-FOUR! The media will not cover this.)

    But you can understand my disbelief. There’s simply no way Patrick freaking Eaves has 31 goals this year,

    Read More »from Puck Lists: 7 surprising recent 30-goal scorers
  • NCAA Hockey 101: Previewing the Frozen Four matchups

    CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 5: Denver Pioneers hit the ice for practice on April 5, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois at the United Center. The DU will take on Norte Dame in the 2017 Frozen Four National semifinal. (Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

    It’s not all chalk in Chicago this week.

    Sure, the top-seeded team is there. And the No. 2 seed is there. And so is the No. 3. But the No. 13 seed is in the mix, too, and they had the hardest possible path.

    The Notre Dame Fighting Irish had a poor start and a whopper of a second half to qualify, even if they crashed out of the Hockey East tournament in the semifinals. But then they put down the No. 4 seeded Minnesota Golden Gophers in the first round of the NCAA tournament, and overcame their own personal boogeymen in No. 5 UMass Lowell. Now they face the University of Denver Pioneers, the best team in the country for the vast majority of the season, in the second of tonight’s national semifinals.

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    Read More »from NCAA Hockey 101: Previewing the Frozen Four matchups
  • SOCHI, RUSSIA – FEBRUARY 15: T.J. Oshie #74 of the United States scores on a shootout against Sergei Bobrovski #72 of Russia during the Men’s Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game on day eight of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 15, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/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. You maniacs!

    Well the Olympics thing isn’t happening, and I obviously get why.

    The NHL hates shutting down the schedule for three weeks, the risk of injury, the fact that they’re not going to make any money off it (especially the fact that they’re not going to make any money off it).

    Also: The Olympics are morally kinda not-good and it’s all graft and all that kind of thing, so for the league to not want to participate on those grounds would also be fine.

    And frankly, I’m sort of relieved I’m not going to have to wake up at 3 in the morning to watch

    Read More »from The Olympics, Jaromir Jagr and the Pittsburgh Penguins (Puck Daddy Countdown)
  • PROVIDENCE, RI – DECEMBER 30: Will Butcher #4 of the Denver Pioneers skates against the Providence College Friars during NCAA hockey at the Schneider Arena on December 30, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island. The game ended in a 2-2 tie. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

    Spoiler alert: There’s basically no way Denver defenseman Will Butcher wins the Hobey Baker award on Friday.

    But it’s not his fault.

    Butcher has arguably been the best defenseman in college hockey over the past two seasons, compiling 68 points in 80 games (and counting) during that time as his Denver Pioneers went to two straight Frozen Fours. For any defenseman to end his career with more than 100 points is impressive enough, but for Butcher to also be perhaps one of the nation’s premier shutdown guys over that time speaks to his overall quality.

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    So why won’t he win the Hobey? The argument for him in this hockey world that focuses

    Read More »from NCAA Hockey 101: Will Butcher's Hobey candidacy and the shortcomings of college stats
  • What We Learned: Behind the Minnesota Wild’s collapse

    (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.)

    There’s a perception that at this time of year, teams coached by Bruce Boudreau tend to collapse.

    Well, maybe “perception” is the wrong word here, because on some level they do indeed seem to drop off a bit in the final month or so of the season. The postseason record — insofar as we want to read into all those one-goal Game 7 losses being indicative that he’s somehow to blame there — stands in furtherance of the point, if you’re trying to make it.

    I don’t think that’s entirely fair. From March 1 on in the full seasons (and March 15 in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign), his teams have collected a record of 108-63-22, a pace for a little more than 101 points over 82 games. But a lot of that is propped up by his time with that Caps wrecking crew,

    Read More »from What We Learned: Behind the Minnesota Wild’s collapse
  • Calgary Flames coming together at the right time? (Trending Topics)

    The Calgary Flames’ Mark Giordano, middle, celebrates with teammate Sean Monahan, right, after Monahan scored the game-winning goal in overtime against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, March 25, 2017, at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Calgary won, 3-2, in overtime. (Chris Lee/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images)

    At the beginning of the season, the Calgary Flames were horrendous.

    They started the year 5-10-1 and to watch them play was a chore. Most of the players — even those who’d been linemates and pairing partners for years — simply didn’t look like they’d ever played together before, and offseason pickup Brian Elliott couldn’t make a stop to save his life.

    There were, however, mitigating factors. For one thing, injuries (like Sean Monahan’s) and contract disputes (like Johnny Gaudreau’s) shortened the runway for important players to get their feet under them in the preseason. Plus there was the new coach and his odd insistence on mixing up the lineup on a regular basis,

    Read More »from Calgary Flames coming together at the right time? (Trending Topics)
  • Puck Lists: 7 people to thank for the Oilers' playoff return

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

    Have you heard? Have you heard the Oilers are in the playoffs?

    Did anyone mention this to you in the last few days?

    I don’t know if you heard about it, but the Edmonton Oilers made the playoffs. In the NHL. The NHL’s playoffs. The Oilers will be in it.

    Not sure if you saw that in the news.

    And to David Staples’ point about how people will say it’s because they’re a one-man team, well, that’s obviously not the case. It’s the case that people will say that, but those people are wrong, and that Staples seems awfully invested in shouting down fanboy arguments which are at least based in reality about a team he is paid to cover. But there was a lot that went into getting this particular club into the playoffs for the first time in a decade.

    It was a lot more than just nice little Connor McDavid who guided this team there,

    Read More »from Puck Lists: 7 people to thank for the Oilers' playoff return
  • NFL in Vegas, Crosby's slash and the Jack Adams race (Puck Daddy Countdown)

    LAS VEGAS, NV – NOVEMBER 22: Majority owner Bill Foley (L) speaks with emcee Chris Maathuis before the Vegas Golden Knights was announced as the name for Foey’s Las Vegas NHL franchise at T-Mobile Arena on November 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The team will begin play in the 2017-18 season. (Photo by Ethan Miller/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. DOPS

    You know the Department of Player Safety is a joke when a sucker punch to a decent player from a total scrub results in a one-game suspension. That’s a joke. 

    7. Classic NHL

    Oh man how about Las Vegas, huh? The NHL finally gets its foot in the door on an untouched market. First major pro sports team in Vegas!

    “Okay sure,” you say, “That first press conference was a disaster. Lots of stumbling on the way to getting the team rolled out. But hey, they’re the only game in town, and they’re brand new. Cut ’em a little slack.”

    And yet — before the

    Read More »from NFL in Vegas, Crosby's slash and the Jack Adams race (Puck Daddy Countdown)
  • NCAA Hockey 101: What does a team need to make Frozen Four?

    The field for the 2017 Frozen Four is decided. With one exception, chalk walked in this past weekend’s regionals.

    Of course, it’s not always the best teams in the country that make it to the Frozen Four, because hockey is often random. But there are ways to make good guesses as to what kind of clubs are most likely to have success in the postseason.

    A few weeks ago, Travis Yost had an interesting post over at TSN that highlighted the statistical similarities between all the Stanley Cup winners from 2007 to last year, looking at what they generally did well. The answer, more or less across the board, was “everything,” but some things were more important than others.

    It was more important to generate shot attempts than scoring chances — weird, right? — and better to be defensively talented (in terms of save percentage, allowing scoring chances, conceding goals, and so on) than offensively.

    College is very different from the NHL, in part because there are far more teams, and also because

    Read More »from NCAA Hockey 101: What does a team need to make Frozen Four?
  • What We Learned: What's next for the Dallas Stars?

    Getty Images

    One of the less talked-about aspects of the NHL season has been the utter failure of the Dallas Stars, a team that was one win away from a Conference Final just last year.

    They’re 5-4-1 in their last 10 games, but that includes a three-game losing streak. In fact, the Stars have seven streaks of at least three losses this season. They’ve only won three in a row once.

    The extent to which this club struggled was, as I’ve said many times, foreseeable. You knew the goaltending situation was going to be horrendous, and here we are with a team .900 save percentage versus a league average of .913. Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi have cost the team a collective 28 goals, probably about nine points in the standings, give or take.

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    But those nine points only get the Stars to 80 in 74, which still isn’t close to a playoff spot here. You’re not wrong to blame the goaltending, but the problems go much deeper. The

    Read More »from What We Learned: What's next for the Dallas Stars?

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