Ryan Lambert

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  • NHL trades, Boston Bruins and cartoon violence (Puck Daddy Countdown)

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

    10 – Trade Season

    Well it’s that time of year again: Rumor Town USA (or Canada depending upon your own personal address, I guess) and you know it’s that time of year because an NHL.com writer retweeted a fake Bob McKenzie account on Monday night. And for real, you can tell it’s Trade Season because even Yung Intelligence was briefly duped into thinking the Penguins would be trading Marc-Andre Fleury and Olli Maatta in a package deal for unspecified return.

    Gotta work off that rust, folks. The fakes are coming for your timeline.

    Speaking of trades, though…

    9 – The Red Wings’ trade prospects

    Being that it’s Trade Season one of the things we’re going to start to see a lot of is, “Is this [not-good old veteran] on the trade block?”

    Another we’re going to see is, “What are the Red Wings gonna do?”

    Because like we all know for sure there’s no way this weak-ass Wings team are gonna

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  • NCAA Hockey 101: Duluth's slide tightens NCHC

    Minnesota-Duluth photo from school Twitter account.
    Minnesota-Duluth photo from school Twitter account.

    It’s getting tougher to say who, exactly, is the best team in the NCHC.

    Over the past few weeks there have been some, shall we say, troubling results for the nation’s second-best conference, with very good teams suffering very bad losses and allowing the door to open up a little bit for other teams to get into the conversation.

    It wasn’t so long ago that Minnesota-Duluth looked like it was going to run a box-to-wire campaign at or near the top of the conference, but two weeks ago it only got a single point (as far as the Pairwise is concerned) in a home series against Colorado College, and then only split with St. Cloud this past weekend thanks to an overtime win. This is classic “giving points away” for a team that is, frankly, a lot better than this. The Bulldogs are only 3-3-2 since the start of December after opening the year 10-2-3.

    The good news for them, if you want to put it that way, is that the competition at the top of the

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  • What We Learned: Braden Holtby, Carey Price not getting the attention

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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.)

    Filling out a mid-season awards ballot the other day took a little bit of research, and when I got to the Vezina category it was a slam dunk.

    Devan Dubnyk, man. Still far and away the best goalie in the league at .940, which is amazing. He would have to eat it big-time in the second half to not be in the final three at the end of the season. With that having been said, we’ve seen Dubnyk eat it big-time before, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility, especially considering that no one gets this kind of workload and stays that high in save percentage.

    People are obviously also talking about Sergei Bobrovsky, and for good reason. One of the biggest workhorses in the league, huge reason Columbus is winning, and so on. Seems that being healthy is really

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  • How Alex Ovechkin got to 1,000 points (Trending Topics)

    WASHINGTON DC, JANUARY 11: Washington's Alex Ovechkin scores his 1000th career goal in the early first period as the Washington Capitals play the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Verizon Center in Washington DC, January 7, 2016. (Photo by John McDonnell / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
    WASHINGTON DC, JANUARY 11: Washington’s Alex Ovechkin scores his 1000th career goal in the early first period as the Washington Capitals play the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Verizon Center in Washington DC, January 7, 2016. (Photo by John McDonnell / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

    The thing that’s really mind-blowing about Alex Ovechkin clearing 1,000 points for his incredible Hall of Fame career is that he did it in 880 games.

    In this era, that’s incredible. Not just because he did it playing in what has been the most difficult era for scoring in league history, and not just because he’s one of very few guys to break 1,000 by scoring more goals than assists. But because only 23 guys out of the 84 to likewise hit quadruple digits did so more quickly.

    So among the highest-scoring players in the history of the National Hockey League, very few did it as much “by themselves” as Ovechkin (insofar as he is the one physically putting the puck in the net for the majority of his points)

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  • Puck Lists: 30 NHL players with very 'Star Wars' names

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

    Over the weekend, a number of college hockey games were played at Fenway Park, including one between Boston University and UMass.

    A guy on the latter team who scored the first goal for the Minutemen was named Griff Jeszka, which is the most Star Wars-sounding name I have ever heard in real life.

    In general, Star Wars names sound really cool, so that’s not a knock on him. Lando Calrissian. Han Solo. Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin. Boba Fett. These are good names.

    (Okay, Shmi Skywalker not so much.)

    There’s something about Star Wars universe names that stand out. They tend to run short of syllables (most names are only ever one or two), favor weird uses of Y in place of other vowels (Jyn Erso), spell more common names a little strangely (Saw Gerrera), use diminutives (Luke Skywalker), and sometimes use nouns in place of actual names (Wedge Antilles). These are general conventions, at least in the movies. In the

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  • Brock Lesnar, NHL All-Star snubs and third jerseys (Puck Daddy Countdown)

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

     8 – Brock Lesnar

    Seems like the Beast Incarnate made the ultimate hockey faux pas and stepped on the Jets logo, and the whole team yelled at him.

    It’s really too bad he beat Toby Enstrom to death with Drew Stafford but frankly the Jets needed to get out from under those contracts anyway.

    7 – Keeping John Tavares in Brooklyn

    Saw Wysh’s take yesterday on how John Tavares might re-sign with the Isles if they get a decent supporting cast around him. Sure, nice thought. They should definitely do that. But here’s the problem: They can’t.

    Look at the contracts on this team. There just aren’t a lot of good values there with the exception of Tavares, who’s about to command at least $9 million and deserves eight figures. They have a ton of bad deals coming off the books in 2018-19 but that’s also two years from now.

    Hell, man, Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck and Josh Bailey make a

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  • NCAA Hockey 101: BU's penalty problem

    BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 08: Boston University Terriers Tommy Kelly #22, Gabriel Chabot #10, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson #23, Bobo Carpenter #14 and Patrick Harper #21 prepare before taking the ice against the University of Massachusetts Minuteman at Fenway Park on January 8, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
    BOSTON, MA – JANUARY 08: Boston University Terriers Tommy Kelly #22, Gabriel Chabot #10, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson #23, Bobo Carpenter #14 and Patrick Harper #21 prepare before taking the ice against the University of Massachusetts Minuteman at Fenway Park on January 8, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

    At the start of the year, everyone took too many penalties. As part of the new rules emphasis, everything was getting called and teams were getting five, six, seven power plays a game in a lot of cases.

    For any coach, that would be too many. It reduces the number of minutes you’re playing at 5-on-5 and opens the game up to a whole lot more chance. And while that trend has largely gone away as refs relax the rules once again (especially because we’re starting to get into league play and games start mattering more) that hasn’t necessarily been the case for a team that’s one of the best in the country.

    By any measure you care to conjure up,

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  • What We Learned: The Leafs are actually good

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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.)

    The Toronto Maple Leafs spent a good chunk of December in the midst of a rough stretch.

    They suffered through a run in which they were 2-3-4, giving them just 31 points from their first 31 games. Since Dec. 22, though, they are 6-1-1 — the regulation loss came Saturday night against Montreal — and have outscored opponents 32-22.

    As evidenced by the Blue Jackets, almost anyone can have a good run of several games or more. You need to get a lot of bounces to go your way, and if you’re a decent team you’re more likely to have that happen. It’s difficult to imagine too many people had the Leafs as any sort of tangible threat to make the playoffs this season; most probably had them improving but finishing just outside the money. After all, they’re not so deep

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  • CALGARY, AB - NOVEMBER 30: Matthew Tkachuk #19 of the Calgary Flames in action against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on November 30, 2016 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
    CALGARY, AB – NOVEMBER 30: Matthew Tkachuk #19 of the Calgary Flames in action against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on November 30, 2016 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

    You have to give the Calgary Flames some credit.

    About halfway through their season, they’re holding onto a wild card spot and are only one point out of a divisional playoff slot. And you can’t say it’s because they’ve been lucky. At least, not in the traditional sense.

    They are lucky insofar as they get to play in the worst division in hockey at a time when their conference as a whole is having a bit of a down year. How bad is the West overall? Vancouver is one point out of a playoff spot (albeit with two extra games played). How bad is the Pacific? Vancouver is four points out of a top-three slot.

    Calgary isn’t a particularly good team, though. They have a sub-50 adjusted 5-on-5 number in CF% (49.9), scoring chances (47.3), and expected goals

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  • Puck Lists: 6 intriguing 'advanced' stats so far this year

    CALGARY, AB - FEBRUARY 17: Devan Dubnyk #40 of the Minnesota Wild in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on February 17, 2016 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
    CALGARY, AB – FEBRUARY 17: Devan Dubnyk #40 of the Minnesota Wild in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on February 17, 2016 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

    We’re getting pretty close to the halfway mark of the season and it has been a very, very weird year in the NHL.

    Unexpected results keep happening. Teams that were supposed to be good are, instead, quite bad. You’ve seen it all year.

    And with those goofy results comes a slew of eye-catching stats, some good, some bad. And while there are plenty of opportunities to examine long winning streaks and unexpected scoring droughts, there are some numbers that slip under the radar a little bit. Here are six of them:

    6. Colorado’s GF% is legendarily bad

    The Avs are awful. It’s been covered at length. Their 5-on-5 offense (1.75 goals per hour) is currently eighth-worst in the Behind The Net era, and only likely to get worse as they sell off what few useful, movable

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