Ryan Lambert

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  • (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.)

    8. “The Sedins are soft!”

    So Daniel Sedin got hit in the mouth by a puck on Monday night, knocked out a few teeth, looked extremely gruesome on the bench.

    And then he comes back and scores a goal? This is the Paul Kariya Got Knocked Out Then Went And Scored Six Minutes After Returning To The Game of early January losses to the Arizona Coyotes.

    The fact that there are still people in this league who would dare say the Sedins are soft tells you an awful lot about how people view this sport (stupidly) and what they think gives you the qualities you need to be a hockey player (being a non-Quebec Canadian).

    I went to a college game the other night and I swear to god there was a roughly 60-year-old guy with a neon yellow sign that said something like, “Soccer players fake injuries, hockey players play through them.”

    Read More »from The Sedins, being Steve Yzerman and All-Star John Scott (Puck Daddy Countdown)
  • NCAA Hockey 101: North Dakota looks scary, but can it last?

    Last season, North Dakota made it all the way to the Frozen Four, largely behind the performance of Hobey Baker finalist Zane McIntyre. 

    Over the course of last season, McIntyre's frankly off-the-charts good goaltending (we're talking .929 in 41 games, but well over .930 for much of the season) was one of the few redeeming qualities for a team that otherwise struggled in possession.

    When you think "North Dakota," you think of dominant teams, but it was McIntyre who kept the hopes of an otherwise just-okay team alive deep into March and beyond.

    There are no such problems this time around.

    When Dave Hakstol took the job with the Philadelphia Flyers, there was plenty of reason to be skeptical of North Dakota going forward. Sure, this is a program that can attract high-level recruits, but Hakstol went to the Frozen Four and won league titles at an extremely impressive rate and replicating that success isn't easy for anyone, let alone a coach like Brad Berry with plenty of experience as an

    Read More »from NCAA Hockey 101: North Dakota looks scary, but can it last?
  • What We Learned: Why Florida Panthers are a fraud (for now)

    (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 took a while — almost half the season, in fact — but we now finally have our Team Doubling Down On Bad Process And Everyone Thinks It's Actually Good.

    In this case, the role of the Maple Leafs/Avalanche/Flames is played by the Florida Panthers.

    They lead the division by three points but also have a game in hand on Montreal behind them, and also ended Sunday night's tilt against the Wild tied with the fourth-best point total in the league. The Panthers therefore closed the weekend with 50 points from 39 games. But that shutout of the Rangers was one in which they were utterly dominated in every facet of the game besides “putting the puck in the net.” Sound familiar?

    The Cats ended Saturday's game as a 47.8 percent possession team, which isn't quite as

    Read More »from What We Learned: Why Florida Panthers are a fraud (for now)
  • Loui Eriksson is underappreciated in Boston; what's his future?

    FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Winter Classic did not provide an ideal result for the Boston Bruins, but their situation was not ideal going in. 

    Absent David Pastrnak, off at World Junior. Absent David Krejci, week-to-week with an upper-body injury. And perhaps most important, absent Brad Marchand, suspended three games for a low-bridge on Mark Borowiecki.

    That pressed Loui Eriksson into action alongside Patrice Bergeron.

    People in Boston like to pretend for some baffling reason that Bergeron is not the team's top-line center, despite his talent and usage clearly dictating that this is the case. Eriksson, however, is anything but their first-line left wing, given Marchand's overwhelming quality and chemistry with Bergeron. Desperate times and all that, though. And because of the paucity of wing depth, Seth Griffith started the game on the opposite side of the ice from Eriksson.

    Given the way Boston played in the Winter Classic, an argument could be made that two Marchands in the lineup

    Read More »from Loui Eriksson is underappreciated in Boston; what's his future?
  • Best and worst of the 2016 NHL Winter Classic

    Examining the best and worst from all aspects of the NHL Winter Classic in Foxborough, Mass. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Boston Bruins 5-1 at Gillette Stadium.

    BEST

    5. Tuukka Rask

    Yeah the score got exceptionally ugly (5-1 to the hated visitors), and so did Tuukka Rask's save percentage (.833), but it wasn't because he played poorly.

    Those Bruins who spoke after the game largely acknowledged that he was hung out to dry in rather embarrassing fashion — he noted this was one of the worst games the team has had in years — and that it could have been a lot worse if not for the play of one of the best goalies alive.

    “Tuukka was the reason why we were down by one, and we had to find something to get back in the game, and it wasn't happening,” Patrice Bergeron said. “Even the chances we got, a few chances we could have maybe gotten a goal, but we weren't bearing down and we weren't making plays.”

    Rask started the season slowly and there was some rather dim talk that perhaps he should

    Read More »from Best and worst of the 2016 NHL Winter Classic
  • Will Canadiens vs. Bruins rivalry be nasty or neutered in Winter Classic?

    FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Bruins vs. Canadiens isn't just another NHL rivalry.

    There are plenty of so-called rivalries around the league that feel downright cordial in a lot of ways — and are not to be confused with the Sharks/Wild Rivalry Night Games Wednesdays on NBC Sports Net. The teams don't like playing each other maybe, insofar as there are division points on the line, and maybe one of them even bounced the other from the playoffs once or twice in the last few years. But let's not act as though there's actual “I don't like that guy” hatred from one side or the other. 

    Not so for Boston/Montreal. There seems to be real and actual animosity there. Though they often wouldn't come out and say it, these are two teams that not only don't like playing each other, they just plain don't like each other at all.

    Hockey is a sport that necessarily engenders enmity. Even an innocuous-seeming hit can get you a little steamed in certain situations, but there's an intention in games like these that

    Read More »from Will Canadiens vs. Bruins rivalry be nasty or neutered in Winter Classic?
  • Huge if True: Ryan Johansen is totally being traded and so on

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

    The Rumor

    The Columbus Blue Jackets are the worst team in hockey this year. There was plenty of reason to believe they would be bad, but not quite this bad.

    It has been a weird season for the NHL overall — the Florida Panthers lead their division, the Anaheim Ducks are second-last in the West, the Pittsburgh Penguins are five points out of a playoff spot, etc. — but there were a lot of people who had Columbus actually doing something this year. They finished last season incredibly strong, they traded for Brandon Saad, they expected Sergei Bobrovsky to turn in a vintage performance, and so on. Pierre McGuire famously picked the Blue Jackets to win the Metro, which seemed crazy even at the time.

    Instead Columbus is spiraling out and a tweet that has gotten a lot of play in the last few days highlights the real issue for the team:

    Read More »from Huge if True: Ryan Johansen is totally being traded and so on
  • (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.)

    10. The Canucks

    Watching the game against the Kings on Monday night was flat-out painful. They got run out of the rink on the scoreboard and it frankly should have been worse. LA could have had another three or four goals easily.

    Final score-adjusted shot attempts at 5-on-5 in that game were about 59-26 in a little more than 47 minutes. That doesn't even seem like it should be possible, right? Like, yeah, LA is really good and Vancouver is very much not (but still clinging to a playoff spot ha ha ha) but good lord.

    This team is not only not very good, but it's also directionless. They're gonna Jarome-Iginla-in-Calgary the Sedins and Edler until they get next to nothing back for them (shout out to Ben Hanowski) while also building around Brandon Sutter for some reason? I don't really understand it all but hey

    Read More »from Johnny Gaudreau, the real Canucks and short NHL coaches (Puck Daddy Countdown)
  • NCAA Hockey 101: Boston University, breaking bad

    The Boston University Terriers did not have a good two-weeks-before-Christmas.

    There was, of course, the gambling scandal.

    To recap quickly: Third-line forward Nick Roberto is suspended for the year for his involvement with sports gambling, which is of course a big NCAA no-no, but this follows months of BU pretending this was a “minor violation of team rules.” It also allegedly involves other unnamed players that were no longer with the team as of the end of last season, so this is obviously getting a lot of traction.

    But the thing with the Roberto news is that while one of the larger stories in college hockey over the last several years -- insofar as it really isn't unreasonable to wonder about the implications behind any player potentially getting in quite deep with sports betting -- it's probably the third-least impactful story as it to BU hockey's on-ice product and performance since the team went on winter break.

    Let's start with the more recent news, which involves Colorado

    Read More »from NCAA Hockey 101: Boston University, breaking bad
  • What We Learned: Year of the Tank in NHL (2015 in Review)

    Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray, left, reacts with Jack Eichel during an NHL press conference at the First Niagara Center Wednesday July 1, 2015, in Buffalo, N.Y. Eichel signed a three-year, entry-level contract. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray, left, reacts with Jack Eichel during an NHL press conference at the First Niagara Center Wednesday July 1, 2015, in Buffalo, N.Y. Eichel signed a three-year, entry-level contract. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

    (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 have been many overarching storylines in hockey this year, but the one that came up in many, many various forms over the course of 2015 is the twin concept of overperformance and underperformance.

    For example, you have the Los Angeles Kings — easily the best team in the NHL over the last four years — having missed the playoffs last season despite having high-level possession numbers and now just absolutely demolishing almost everyone they play.

    In the same division, you had the Calgary Flames getting every result to go their way for an entire season in which they were otherwise worthy of consideration for “worst team in the league.” This year, the same story is playing out in the Pacific between the Anaheim Ducks (good team that is losing

    Read More »from What We Learned: Year of the Tank in NHL (2015 in Review)

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