Ryan Lambert

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  • Is there any reason at all for Capitals skepticism? (Trending Topics

    Washington Capitals’ Brett Connolly (10) celebrates with teammate Jakub Vrana (13) after scoring a goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game as New York Rangers’ Oscar Lindberg (24) skates away, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

    The biggest splash in the run-up to the trade deadline was undoubtedly the one made by the team that was already the best in the league.

    When the Washington Capitals got Kevin Shattenkirk it addressed a need the team has kinda-sorta had for a while now, which is defensive depth. While Washington was always going to be able to count on goals coming throughout the lineup (more so this year than ever, as Alex Ovechkin slows down), a D corps with Karl Alzner as the No. 3 behind two first-pairing guys in John Carlson and Matt Niskanen was always running at least something of a risk.

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    With Shattenkirk — another top-pairing talent with a power play

    Read More »from Is there any reason at all for Capitals skepticism? (Trending Topics
  • Puck Lists: Ranking every NHL Trade Deadline deal

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

    Well folks you know what it is. This deadline was awful, so let’s just get right into it:

    Shane Harper for Reece Scarlett

    These are made-up names I am very sure of that.

    Joe Whitney for Brendan Ranford

    I hate that I technically have to list this trade.

    Daniel Catenacci for Mat Bodie

    I have heard of Mat Bodie, but I don’t remember why or anything.

    Joe Cannata for Cody Corbett

    The Caps are loading up on goalies!!!!!

    Adam Wilcox for Mike McKenna

    Another minor-league goalie trade. Why are you all doing this to me?

    Jarome Iginla for a conditional fourth

    Ah man, I wanted Iginla to win a Cup.

    Steve Ott for a 2018 sixth-round pick

    I have no idea why you want to trade for Steve Ott but I guess if you want to there’s not much you can offer that’s of lower value than a sixth next year. But a team with Ott and Andrew Shaw at the same time? Gross.

    Kyle Quincey for Dalton Prout

    Two guys who can’t play.

    Teemu

    Read More »from Puck Lists: Ranking every NHL Trade Deadline deal
  • Mumps, Shattenkirk and Lightning sell-off (Puck Daddy Countdown)

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

    7 – Crying poor

    While it is, let’s say, interesting that the NHL’s revenues are expected to remain flat for what is effectively three straight years now, it’s just sad the extent to which the CHL works against its players.

    Just read this whole thing. I understand hockey is a business but, like, pay the players. Literally any amount of money beyond a very small stipend. Like the minimum wage, that would be a good starting point.

    But alas:

    Wow, cool.

    6 – Ottawa in ‘Going For It’ mode

    Maybe it’s just me but I really don’t get why Alex Burrows is a guy you give up one of your four or five best prospects for. Burrows has 20 points in 55 games this year, and while he’s

    Read More »from Mumps, Shattenkirk and Lightning sell-off (Puck Daddy Countdown)
  • NCAA Hockey 101: Denver rampaging to the NCHC title

    When you’re in the conference with the two best teams in the country, the problem is that you have to be almost perfect every night of the season. Slight mistakes can sink you quickly.

    So it was that Minnesota Duluth, having merely lost in 3-on-3 overtime (and thus given two points away) on Saturday night more or less sealed its fate as the NCHC’s runner-up behind top-ranked Denver. Coming into the weekend, Duluth knew it had a bit of a hill to climb, being two points back of Denver with four games to go in the regular season. It also potentially had the tougher out.

    Miami is only No. 29 in the country, and the games were at home, so that looked alright. But then they had to go to Kalamazoo and take on a Western Michigan team that just keeps earning points. And in the NCHC’s standings system that awards three points for a regulation or 5-on-5 OT win, two points for a 3-on-3 or OT win, and one point in a 3-on-3 or OT loss, earning points also robs other teams of points.

    So the Bulldogs

    Read More »from NCAA Hockey 101: Denver rampaging to the NCHC title
  • What We Learned: St. Louis Blues bungle another player decision

    (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.)

    On Friday afternoon, the St. Louis Blues extended Patrik Berglund for five years and $3.85 million.

    It goes without saying that it’s easy to get your mind stuck in the past a little bit, when $3.85 million was a pretty good-sized amount of money in the NHL’s cap structure. These days it’s only a little more than 5 percent of the total cap, so it’s not a killer or anything.

    But this deal in particular also isn’t a good idea.

    For one thing, there’s the term. Five years for what will be a 29-year-old middle-six forward who netted 137 points in his previous 327 games before the season started — about 34 per 82 games — doesn’t seem like a good investment.

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    And he’s on pace for less

    Read More »from What We Learned: St. Louis Blues bungle another player decision
  • 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

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