Ryan Lambert

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  • This weekend was the second-to-last in a number of conferences' regular seasons, and Hobey Baker Award lobbying is really starting to pick up. The only campaign that matters, though, got under way in earnest, as Boston University unveiled its “I Like Eich” buttons and campaign, which are fun and nice.

    For his part, Jack Eichel didn't have a great weekend, though, as Notre Dame took three of four crucial league points from BU, and he could only muster an assist in each game, and BU scored just four goals total. But even still, Eichel is up to 50 points in 30 games, as an underage freshman, and has a six-point lead on the player who's second in the nation in points. That player — Evan Rodrigues — is his linemate. The other guy in the mix, one point back of those two, is Union's Daniel Ciampini, who has been very good for a middling team.

    Eichel is also tops in the nation in points per game, but his grip there isn't as firm. His 1.67 per game  exceeds that of Harvard's Jimmy Vesey (1.52)

    Read More »from NCAA Hockey 101: Jack Eichel and the Hobey Baker Watch; Quinnipiac, Yale battle
  • What We Learned: New NHL stats site has failures at launch

    There have been a few dozen things written about the NHL's new “enhanced” stats site launching, and one feels safe in assuming the thrust of many of them are, “Uhh, what the hell?”

    So: Uhh, what the hell?

    The NHL entered the advanced stats era fully and officially on Friday, launching its own engine to give fans more immediate access to the data that has been cultivated for years on the websites of nerds who are truly and thoroughly fans of this sport and wanted to understand the game on a deeper level. Views in that community were a bit mixed; on the one hand, there was trepidation that the whole thing might get screwed up, given how much we know about the NHL's ability to do a Peter Sellers-level job of inadvertently throwing itself down a flight of stairs while trying to show off.

    But on the other there was a welcoming feeling because this was validation for the years of hard work in a way. By launching this site, the league was essentially saying, “What you have worked on for years

    Read More »from What We Learned: New NHL stats site has failures at launch
  • What are the Flyers doing? (Trending Topics)

    Let's get one thing straight right off the bat here: “Making the playoffs” is an unreasonable goal for the Philadelphia Flyers. Yeah, they're on a nice little run here, with points from 11 of their last 13 games, but the way they're doing it is basically the textbook definition of unsustainable.

    Of those 13 games, six have gone to overtime or a shootout, and it's tough to rely on getting that kind of thing over the course of any considerable length of time. They're also winning despite giving up a whole lot of goals — 34 over that stretch — despite the fact that this portion of their schedule hasn't been all that difficult (Buffalo thrice, Columbus twice, Arizona and Toronto once each, etc.).

    But a lot of these points have also come with Steve Mason out of the lineup. Now, I'm still not ready to say Mason has transformed himself from a subpar goaltender to what he's been so far in Philadelphia — I don't weigh the most recent 100-something games (.922) more heavily than the previous

    Read More »from What are the Flyers doing? (Trending Topics)
  • [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.] 

    5. Embarrassing the game!!!!!

    So let's say you want to, like, really really really easily get on a lazy hockey writer's good side. It's a two-step process:

    1) Find a player who the hockey establishment already dislikes for nebulous reasons (think “high-profile European” or “black guy”).

    2) Say he is disgracing the sport.

    That's it. You're done.

    So Ryan Getzlaf comes out and says Alex Ovechkin's diving “all over the [f-wording] ice.” (Hockey writers also like it when you use heck-words.)

    Was this because Ovechkin drew a pair of penalties in the game and did

    Read More »from Puck Daddy Power Rankings: 'Embarrassing' Ovechkin, KHL concerns and Jaromir Jagr
  • NCAA Hockey 101: Big 10 turmoil for Michigan, Penn State

    This past weekend was a pretty important one in the Big 10. Minnesota was taking on Michigan, and Penn State and Michigan State were facing off. 

    The Wolverines and Nittany Lions sat Nos. 1 and 2 in the conference, but if things went just right for their opponents, that wouldn't necessarily be the case much longer.

    And things went just right for their opponents.

    In both cases, the conference leaders traveled to their opponents and found themselves roundly battered in two straight games. Michigan State swept 3-0 and 3-2, while Minnesota went 6-2 and 2-0. And now the top of the conference standings look like this: Minnesota and Michigan tied with 24 points, and Penn State and Michigan State tied with 22.

    This changes everything.

    There are now four weekends left in the Big Ten schedule, and given the fact that there are just six teams in the conference, there really isn't a lot of wiggle room any more. Minnesota travels to Penn State, hosts Michigan State, travels to Ohio State, and hosts

    Read More »from NCAA Hockey 101: Big 10 turmoil for Michigan, Penn State
  • Hockey’s most obfuscating stat (What We Learned)

    (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.)

    Hockey, like all sports, is a results-oriented business. Don't win, and you're a failure more often than not, even if the not-winning can be attributed to something that is beyond your control. And of course, one of the biggest factors in winning games is your team's ability to score goals.

    Scoring goals is the thing in hockey, yeah? Preventing them too; and actually preventing them might be more important, because winning 5-4 every night is not a thing you can do reliably. But scoring goals in quantity over the course of a season is a really difficult thing to do unless you're piling up the shots.

    It stands to reason: You take more shots, you score more goals.

    But this, of course, doesn't always work out that way, whether it's over a stretch of 10, 20,

    Read More »from Hockey’s most obfuscating stat (What We Learned)
  • So it appears as though the Leafs management finally has the clearance and will to start splashing some gasoline around the dressing room and throw a match over their shoulders as they close the door behind them.

    It's for the best. This Leafs team as it's currently constituted is no one's idea of good or competitive or anything else a team so close to the cap ceiling really ought to be. The reason Brendan Shanahan, Kyle Dubas, et al were brought in this past summer was to really kick the tires on the roster and management situation and see if it needed to be overhauled.

    The obvious answer all along was 'yes', and so here we are. 

    But the thing is that as far as the Leafs are concerned, this is uncharted territory. Leafs do not engage in burn-it-down rebuilds. They try to rebuild on the fly. Which is what they've been doing with no success at all — unless you want to count that one playoff appearance, and if you do, haha — for more than a decade at this point. There are many schools of

    Read More »from If Maple Leafs are smart, this is their scorched earth rebuild blueprint (Trending Topics)
  • Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Lundqvist's injury; NHL in Las Vegas

    [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. “One of the best goalies ever is hurt? No big deal!”

    I do not understand these people who say that losing Henrik Lundqvist for a month or more is of little consequence to the New York Rangers. The math behind it doesn't make sense, let alone the actual logic of saying out loud, “Oh yeah, no Lundqvist for a month is not in any way worrisome.”

    Like, okay, fine, Cam Talbot is an elite backup goalie whose play the last two seasons kind of makes you think he deserves a shot to start somewhere. This is the same logic applied to Anton Khudobin, who in one season

    Read More »from Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Lundqvist's injury; NHL in Las Vegas
  • NCAA Hockey 101: BC is great, but their women's team is better

    The Boston College Eagles won their 18th game of the season, and are now 14-4-2 in their last 20 games.

    They're now scoring enough to make opponents nervous, and playing stingy enough defense that they're not eking out one-goal wins every night. They're arguably the most talented team in Hockey East, and might have the best blue line in the country. They're putting together a very credible assault on the top of the Hockey East standings, even if BU has a rather firm grip at the moment.

    And they look like a flaming pile of garbage compared to their women's team.

    On Friday night they won 6-0 against UConn, and in doing so improved to 27-0-1 on the year. The one tie, a freak 2-2 draw with St. Lawrence, came on Oct. 11, and they've won just about every one of the 25 games since in a walk.

    How dominant is this team? They've scored 152 goals in 28 games, more than 5.4 per night. And they've only allowed 31, slightly more than 1.1 per. And that basically tells the story: A goal differential

    Read More »from NCAA Hockey 101: BC is great, but their women's team is better
  • Evander Kane's non-existent 'decline' (What We Learned)

    The Jets have been forced to sell low on Evander Kane, and whether it's this season or next you can bet he'll be traded to someone hoping to pick him up off the scrap heap and hope his shoulder fully heals.

    This is basically the very definition of selling low on a player, and certainly his attitude and how he's perceived by the locals is at least partly to blame for this. Come up with any number of excuses you like, but the truth is he isn't well liked in either the room or the stands, let alone the press box. That rumors of his being discontented with his situation in Winnipeg have been swirling for years should come as little surprise, and this was perhaps the worst possible end to the already-toxic relationship.

    There are a lot of reasons things seem to have soured in Winnipeg, but at least part of that comes from the idea that Kane is no longer the player he once was. Sure, he scored 30 in 74 games as a 20-year-old, but his goal total has declined in each of the last three seasons,

    Read More »from Evander Kane's non-existent 'decline' (What We Learned)

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