Ryan Lambert

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  • Huge If True: Byfuglien to Los Angeles? Ladd to Florida?

    [HUGE IF TRUE breaks down the plausibility of the week's biggest rumor.]

    The Rumor

    The big quote in the world of trade rumors over the last week came last Friday at the All-Star Weekend media day, when Dustin Byfuglien said of the likelihood that he re-signs with the Jets, “I don’t mind Winnipeg at all.”

    Headlines! Tweets! Radio segments!

    What does that even mean, Dustin? Six words that sound very damning indeed.

    But this is one of the problems with print: Not a lot of room for tone. People acted as though Byfuglien said it with the same enthusiasm as a child coming home from a bad day at school and saying it was, “Fine.”

    First of all, Elliotte Friedman was there and says that wasn't the tone of the quote. Second, there was more to the quote anyway. Before he said The Six Words he also said Winnipeg is, “[his] style of town.” And then right after — like, the next sentence — he said, “It’s the closest I’ll ever get to be able to play by home... so many good things that I like about

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  • So long and thanks for all the fists (Puck Daddy Countdown)

    (Ed. Note: The column formerly known as the Puck Daddy Power Rankings. Ryan Lambert takes a look at some of the biggest issues and stories in the NHL, and counts them down.)

    2,452,456. The NHL

    No one could have handled the John Scott thing, from front to back, worse than this league did. But as they've so often found out in the past, some things are just screwup-proof. Everyone loving John Scott specifically because of how the league tried to twist him at every turn was inevitable.

    If this league was run competently, I'd almost believe it was a wrestling angle from the start. But Gary Bettman is no Vince McMahon, so this was just then “I Didn't Do It'-ing their way into the best thing the league has done in years.




    3. The Skills Competition

    It was good.

    2. Going 3-on-3

    It was also good.

    1. So long, and thanks for all the fists

    There was only one thing in hockey to talk about at any sort of length this week, and that's the storybook capper to a bizarre NHL career.

    At this

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  • NCAA Hockey 101: Beanpot that might have actually mattered

    BOSTON — On Feb. 14, 1993, Harvard won the Beanpot for the 10th and final time.

    On that date, exactly sevenplayers in this year's iteration of the Beanpot were actually alive. 

    Not one of them was out of diapers. The oldest of them, Boston University's Mike Moran, had just rounded the bend into his Terrible Twos the previous September. For Northeastern and Harvard, the title droughts are now well into their Terrible Twenties. In recent years, the problem has really begun to weigh heavily on both the psyche of those two programs, and the attendance figures at TD Garden.

    This was the last chance for the last of a literal generation of hockey players for Northeastern or Harvard to make a dent in a four-team tournament dominated by just two teams. From 1994 to present, Boston College and Boston University have won nine and 13 Beanpots, respectively, and only lost to either Northeastern or Harvard a combined five times in elimination games.

    And most of the time, there is at least one

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  • What We Learned: Who is the NHL’s king of 3-on-3 OT?

    (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.)

    The Calgary Flames have only been to overtime once since Dec. 17, and they ended up losing that game in a shootout.

    Prior to that, though, there was no team in the NHL that should have been more feared in the extra period of 3-on-3, because their success rate was mind-boggling. They've won eight of their 12 overtimes, lost once, and gone 1-2 in the three that lasted into the shootout. Any time you outscore your opponents 8-1 in any situation, even if it's only in a combined total of 32:48, you're in a good place.

    And moreover, when that scoring differential wins you eight more points in the standings, it's a major advantage.

    Now, you can obviously say that this is little more than a confluence of good circumstances. The Flames lead the league in overtime

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  • We watched NHL All-Star Friday Night because you didn’t

    God bless PK Subban.

    About halfway through the third segment of “NHL All-Star Friday Night: Live in Music City” on NBCSN and Sportsnet — somehow, the title wasn't the clunkiest thing about this show — he felt the wave of absolute boredom getting up to his neck and tried like hell to save it. Roman Josi, like Preds teammates Pekka Rinne and Shea Weber in the first segment, was giving poor Kathryn Tappen absolutely zero. 

    Weber, by my count, said all of two sentences. Thanks for coming out, enjoy the Aaron Lewis song. Or at least try to pretend you enjoy it.

    “It's a fun city and it's a real hockey city and we have great fans and it's a big honor to be an All-Star in my hometown,” blah blah blah. Hard to come up with a new answer to literally the same question, I understand, but hooooo boy. So the same question goes to Subban, and he gives approximately the same answer. Of course then there's one about his suit, and he's trying to make something work.

    And to paraphrase the followup:

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  • Why the Anaheim Ducks got hot (Trending Topics)

    You wouldn't know it these days, with Anaheim sitting at 10-3-1 in its last 14, but this team was awful not so long ago. 

    The Ducks started the year 12-15-6, and as of Dec. 22, right before the Christmas break, they were dead last in the Pacific, tied with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the lowest point total in the entire NHL. Since then they've added 21 points in 14 games — a pace for 123 points — after amassing 29 in the first 32.

    They enter they All-Star break two points out of a playoff spot with two games in hand on the Arizona Coyotes.

    Remember, this was the team picked by almost everyone to walk away with a Presidents' Trophy this season, given the high-quality roster that was actually upgraded over the summer, the brilliant coach, and the easy division. There was little doubt that this club and the Washington Capitals were the most likely to be setting themselves up for a Stanley Cup showdown.

    And then this:

    Garbage numbers across the board, really. All of those offensive

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  • Huge if True: Calgary Flames looking to make deals

    [Breaking down the plausibility of the week's biggest rumor.]

    The Rumor

    The Calgary Flames, sitting eight points out of a playoff spot in the Pacific after Tuesday night's games, are almost certainly not going to make the postseason this year. They join the Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers as the only two teams in the West that are well and truly out of it barring some sort of miracle late-season run. As a result, and like those other teams, people are now starting to think about what Calgary GM Brad Treliving will reasonably have to do with the crop of pending UFAs the team has on the roster.

    On Insider Trading this week, Bob McKenzie reported that the Flames are starting to get calls from other clubs about the availability of Jiri Hudler, who's in a down year, just turned 32, and will be looking for a new contract from somebody this summer.

    Likewise, on Sportsnet 960 Monday morning, Elliotte Friedman imparted that he imagines other teams would kick the tires on trading for Hudler or

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  • 8. Telling your kids you'll get them a puppy if an NHL player scores a goal

    So this is a thing now?

    Parents got sick of forcing their small children to cry when a moderately popular local player was traded in a cloying and transparent attempt to get a signed jersey they will probably put on eBay within the week. So this is the new thing to get their kid on the news or a local broadcast for a second.

    “We're gonna name a puppy after Taylor Fedun if he scores tonight.”

    Yeah okay. Parents who do this stuff to their kids should be in jail.

    7. Sergei Bobrovsky's groin

    The thing with counting on any sort of rebound for the Columbus Blue Jackets any time soon is not so much that they don't have talent in the pipeline. They have plenty of promising players up front, and a defense led by Zach Werenski and Seth Jones for the next decade will probably look pretty good. It might get to the point where even John Tortorella couldn't screw up this team's path to success.

    Except they really need to

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  • NCAA Hockey 101: Are Jerry York's 1,000 wins an unmatchable feat?

    For a few years now, Boston College head coach Jerry York has been the winningest college hockey coach in history. He passed Ron Mason, the long-time Michigan State coach (at 924) and kept right on rolling.

    Now he's up to an even 1,000, having demolished UMass 8-0 on the road Friday night, and tied UConn on Saturday. This is a staggering number. No one else is even close. Michigan's Red Berenson is 176 back as the active No. 2 — albeit in almost 400 fewer games — but he's also six years' York's senior, so the odds Berenson even closes the gap marginally over the remainder of their careers are basically non-existent.

    York will coach as long as he likes and probably also continue to be one of the better coaches in college hockey. Boston College can attract a level of player few others can, and his support staff has done an excellent job in recent years to buttress his leadership. His players love him despite his kindly disciplinarian streak and so does just about anyone who's dealt with

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  • What We Learned: Why Pekka Rinne has been awful this season

    Sometimes very good players will have an inexplicably bad year.

    It doesn't happen often, mind you, but when it does, people collectively lose their minds speculating about, “What's wrong with so-and-so?” The most recent example of this is Sidney Crosby, who “only” had 84 points in 77 games last season and is now on 40 in 46 this year (but also 13 in his last 10, because he's Sidney Crosby).

    The amount of articles churned out about whether Crosby is “done” has been perilously high for the last year-plus, and to some extent it's understandable. A lot of those articles have been shouted down as being a little short-sighted, because the puck just isn't going in for Crosby at the same rate it once did, but everything else is more or less in line with his long-demonstrated talent level.

    So maybe the fact that no one is writing these stories about Pekka Rinne — the All-Star with the .904 save percentage in 40 games this year — is just a sign that we're collectively getting smarter about the

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