Ryan Lambert

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  • Trending Topics: Why Bruins, Canucks struggles are no surprise

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    Trending Topics is a column that looks at the week in hockey according to Twitter. If you're only going to comment to say how stupid Twitter is, why not just go have a good cry for the slow, sad death of your dear internet instead?

    So far in this admittedly very new season, the NHL has broken more or less how people expected.

    Teams are, for the most part, right where everyone thought they would be. Yeah, Toronto's off to a better start than people predicted, and this is probably the best playoff position the Oilers will find themselves in all year. But there are two teams, both projected to have great seasons, whose starts are more notable for their general badness.

    They are, perhaps not surprisingly, the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins.

    Anyone that's watched any of the games for the two Stanley Cup finalists for last year have probably noticed that neither team has looked especially strong to start the season. Vancouver is 1-2-1, and the only win came against a Blue Jackets team

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  • What We Learned: Stop jumping to gullible conclusions about NHL

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    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.

    I think most people out there should know by now that the first one, two or even three games of a hockey season don't really tell you very much about how the team is going to do.

    But the problem is that a new hockey season is very easy to get wrapped up in. The Sabres win two games in a row, scoring four in each and allowing just three total? It's a sound justification of the spending spree this summer and perhaps evidence that they will live up to the hype. Phil Kessel has four points in a game? He might finally rip up the NHL this year, finally evolving into elite goalscorer instead of consistent 30-goal man.

    Reality is, of course, quite a bit different.

    Let's take the previous two examples. Playing hockey in Europe at the start of the season is a

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  • Trending Topics: Why I can’t wait for Atlantic Division hockey

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    Trending Topics is a new column that looks at the week in hockey according to Twitter. If you're only going to comment to say how stupid Twitter is, why not just go have a good cry for the slow, sad death of your dear internet instead?

    The more I think about it, the happier I am that the NHL and its broadcast partners really only seem to care about one division.

    For a very long time, it was tough watching a national NHL broadcast unless you were a fan of the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins or Philadelphia Flyers because those three teams in particular seemed like they were just on TV every damn week. Often, more than once.

    But that kind of bullheaded pandering to those within 300 miles or so of the New York City area is finally going to pay off.

    I'm done rolling my eyes at another Rangers-Flyers game on Versus. The Atlantic Division is, finally, the one that's most worth watching in hockey. One really great team, two very good ones and two that are primed to take big steps

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  • What We Learned: 20 bold predictions for the NHL season

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    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.

     

    Real life hockey that counts is just days away, folks. And that means you're about to be inundated with predictions from experts of all types.

    Will TSN continue to act like the Jets have a legitimate shot at doing anything of note? Of course. Will Barry Melrose be pulled from his tanning bed deep beneath the ESPN studios so he and Linda Cohn can predict yet another 82-0-0 season for the Rangers? Yes. Will Bleacher Report steal those predictions word-for-word? Obviously, and with the requisite "presenting it as a 34-page slideshow."

    But because those predictions are always wrong and never specific enough, for the third year in a row somehow, here are 20 Bold Predictions for the upcoming NHL season.

    1. After missing by a single point last year, the

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  • Trending Topics: The fine line between clean and dirty

    116004509Trending Topics is a column that looks at the week in hockey according to Twitter. If you're only going to comment to say how stupid Twitter is, why not just go have a good cry for the slow, sad death of your dear internet instead?

    The NHL is changing rapidly, and for the better.

    But because of these changes, there are a number of issues at play that cause trouble for players, coaches, officials and fans alike. In the last two weeks or so, we've seen a lot of guys come out and start complaining about all the new rules coming down at once. What is a penalty any more? What isn't?

    Here's an example: Dion Phaneuf cleaned out two guys in a recent exhibition game with fairly similar hits. One got him two minutes. One went uncalled. Had this been two seasons ago, and maybe even early last year, either one would have been viewed as clean by everyone in the league except the guys he clobbered.

    All involved expressed frustration with the circumstances. There were even claims the officials

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  • What We Learned: Can Brendan Shanahan handle tougher tests?

    shanananaHello, 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.

    Brendan Shanahan, as the new wielder of justice for the National Hockey League, came out flying for his first shift.

    Five games to Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond. TEN games to Jody Shelley. And while the majority of those games were in the preseason, it sent a very clear and obvious message: Brendan Shanahan isn't here to screw around.

    Media and fans alike are sighing with appropriate happiness over the new enforcement official of the NHL, he of the shiny new badge and requisite air of seriousness. Finally, here is a guy who Gets It.

    The league wants to take dangerous plays like this seriously? Great. Shanahan's suspending guys who have a history of disciplinary problems longer than those who do not? Even better. It wasn't the first time in the principal's

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  • Trending Topics: Jets can’t ‘White Out’ Thrashers past

    JETSTrending Topics is a column that looks at the week in hockey according to Twitter. If you're only going to comment to say how stupid Twitter is, why not just go have a good cry for the slow, sad death of your dear internet instead?

    "It's funny, I feel like the NHL is missing something.

    Watching these preseason games I've seen teams like Boston and Toronto and Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and Detroit. But there's this nagging feeling I can't shake.

    I remember watching a bunch of games last year that featured this team in Atlanta. The Thrashers, I think they were called. Had a couple good players. Dustin Byfuglien. Andrew Ladd. I think even Evander Kane. Not a very good team, but I think someone needs to call the cops: they're missing.

    Not the players, though. I mean they're all accounted for. The team, though, seems to have disappeared. Hope someone looks into that. Luckily, the league just happened to have an expansion team starting up operations and, to avoid all the hassle of a player

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  • What We Learned: Dean Lombardi’s lucky sports fans are idiots

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    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.

    Attention other 29 general managers in the NHL: Don't do what Dean Lombardi is doing.

    Lombardi is currently in a Cold War with the perhaps best player on his team (and, you could argue, in the entire Pacific Division) over the terms of a contract extension that should make him one of the top four- or five-highest paid defensemen in the league; and, they hope, for a number of years.

    But that is the sticking point. Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times recently reported that Doughty turned down the club's "best" (read: "final") offer of $6.8 million a season for the next six to eight years. Doughty — or, to more accurately portray the way this is being framed, Doughty's agent — would like to see a smidge more money (north of $7 million per) and a few less

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  • wilsonchi

    Trending Topics is a column that looks at the week in hockey according to Twitter. If you're only going to comment to say how stupid Twitter is, why not just go have a good cry for the slow, sad death of your dear internet instead?

    There are a lot of problems in the NHL today, not the least of which is the way teams give players contracts.

    For a league that was so concerned about depressing player salaries and controlling spending just a few years ago, the money guys are getting these days is flat-out insane.

    But you already knew that.

    So how about a hand for general managers Peter Chiarelli and Doug Wilson?

    In a summer fraught with unreasonable deals given to marginal players, Chiarelli and Wilson secured the services of effective if still-emerging players, beloved by local fans, for relative pittances that flew in the face of the current conventional NHL wisdom and successfully avoided two of the biggest pitfalls executives fall into in today's NHL.

    It's long been the case that the

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  • What We Learned: Fighting should be banned at rookie camps

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    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.

    I am by no means a person who is anti-fighting.

    Even during the many tragedies this summer, which pacifist media members tried to link in some way to fighting or the role of enforcers to the sport, my opinion remained unchanged. Fighting is a necessary if unfortunate way to properly police the game so star players don't get their heads knocked off the first time over the boards in Game 1 of the season.

    It may not be the gentlest way for a guy to make a living (it can absolutely chew up and spit out a huge number of people), but this is the life enforcers choose, instead of working a nine-to-five job. They're compensated very well for it. They're adults. It's all fair.

    However, in watching the rookie tournaments this weekend, I was positively appalled to

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