Ryan Lambert

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  • What We Learned: Did Marc Staal deserve his new NY Rangers deal?

    (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 continues to have a weird fetish for defensive defensemen, and it's a market inefficiency that's difficult to understand.

    Remember this summer when Brooks Orpik signed that five-year deal with Washington that would inexplicably pay him $5.5 million per? And how everyone laughed? Those contracts are handed out more frequently than you think. Such is the case with Marc Staal, who signed a 6-year, $34.2-million deal with the New York Rangers on Sunday.

    Now, Staal isn't exactly Brooks Orpik-level ineffective at driving play — and Washington fans are learning to their chagrin just how much tread has come off the tire for this man who will turn 35 in September and still have four years left of hefty paychecks coming his way — but he's not as far off the

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  • Are the Bruins right to keep David Pastrnak? (Trending Topics)

    On Thursday night the Bruins played the New York Rangers and David Pastrnak was in the lineup. Of course he was. 

    In the Bruins' previous two games, he'd scored four of the team's seven goals, and put nine shots on net, mostly playing with countryman David Krejci and a resurgent Milan Lucic. The Bruins won those two games, climbed back into a somewhat more comfortable playoff spot (they entered last night three points up on Florida, albeit with three extra games played). During the first intermission, Peter Chiarelli told reporters the Bruins intended to keep Pastrnak for the remainder of the season, and Pastrnak finished the game with just one shot on goal.

    Those four goals were nice, and obviously pumping 10 shots is indicative that this kid is playing well right now. He's also an electrifying talent that has ripped up both the AHL and World Junior Championship since this season began (1.13 points per game playing against grown men, and 1.4 per playing against the best U-20 talent on

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  • [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.]  

    7. The CORSI Hockey League

    The Leafs fired Randy Carlyle because he was a bad coach in pretty much every way, including his total inability to prevent his team from getting outshot pretty much every damn night of his tenure.

    But since the coaching change, the Leafs have won just one of their three games. And they've only outshot their opponents twice (and lost by one — ONE! — the other time). Pretty clear what's going on here: Only giving up 65 shots over three games, or a little less than 22 per, is actually bad.

    Because look if you want to beat good teams

    Read More »from Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Colorado's comeback; NHL All-Star snubs; P.K. Subban
  • NCAA Hockey 101: Here comes Michigan; Hobey Baker finalists

    (Ed. Note: Ryan Lambert is our resident NCAA Hockey nut, and we decided it’s time to unleash his particular brand of whimsy on the college game every week. So NCAA HOCKEY 101 will run every Tuesday on Puck Daddy. Educate yo self.) 

    Red Berenson picked a hell of a time to get the 800th win of his career.

    It came at the tail-end of a semi-impressive weekend sweep of Minnesota — which I'm sure he'd say left a lot of room for improvement — and kind of served to catapult Michigan back into the national conversation of teams that are actually really good. They should have been there all along of course, but they started the year just 2-5 and mostly looked awful doing it.

    But after they dropped a pair at Michigan Tech on Halloween and All Saints' Day, then had two weeks off to really kick the tires and look at what was ailing them.

    The answers, near as I can tell, seem to have been goaltending (.881 through their first seven games) and the fact that they were giving up more than 32 shots per

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  • What We Learned: Minnesota Wild made this mess, now drowning in it

    (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 Wild are bad. Look at the standings.

    Dead last in Conference III, seven points out of a playoff spot, and with fewer points overall than the Ottawa Senators. They're a team that's been sliding all season, and now in perhaps their worst funk of all. They entered last night's road tilt at Chicago just two wins in their last 12 games — a type of run so bad it prompts teams with as little near-term hope as the Oilers to start thinking about canning a coach — and with their next game against the Penguins, well, things could get even uglier.

    This is, on paper, a far cry from a team that lucked into advancing to the second round last season (which is to say they had the good fortune to draw a terrible Avalanche team in the first) and also made the playoffs

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  • Is tanking for Connor McDavid morally indefensible? (Trending Topics)

    We're getting to the point in the season where the real and truly bad teams are starting to separate themselves from the pack more seriously than they could when the season was younger.

    The Buffalo Sabres and Edmonton Oilers are two of the three worst teams in the league, and only Carolina stands between them. And unlike them, Carolina seems to be moving back to health and a general decent quality of play, so the wheat will likely be further separated from the chaff.

    Both also entered last night with a game in hand, meaning that the Hurricanes also have more time to move themselves ahead of this desperately poor two-pack.

    And make no mistake, these are two organizations now deeply committed to losing as many games as possible over the course of the season, and as far as the Sabres go that's been the case since Oct. 1.

    The Sabres are, in fact, so crassly tanking for the right to draft either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel that they hosted the former's junior team in their building for no

    Read More »from Is tanking for Connor McDavid morally indefensible? (Trending Topics)
  • Puck Daddy Power Rankings: All-Maple Leafs edition

    [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.] 

    9. Randy Carlyle

    You had to know this was coming.

    The Leafs were bad this season despite hanging on by their fingernails to a playoff spot — and boy doesn't that sound familiar — for a lot of reasons, but most of them can be traced back to ol' Concussion Expert Randy Carlyle.

    This was a problem of roster optimization, poor tactics, and not having answers when things went as sideways as they so often did. Remember, the Leafs “got smart” this summer and hired a bunch of people whose job was basically to given Carlyle as little autonomy as possible when it came

    Read More »from Puck Daddy Power Rankings: All-Maple Leafs edition
  • NCAA Hockey 101: Jack Eichel rumors and Hockey East race

    (Ed. Note: Ryan Lambert is our resident NCAA Hockey nut, and we decided it’s time to unleash his particular brand of whimsy on the college game every week. So NCAA HOCKEY 101 will run every Tuesday on Puck Daddy. Educate yo self.)

    The first half of the Hockey East season was a little weirder than anyone might have expected.

    Boston College started out flat. Providence College, picked to win the conference by coaches and media alike in the preseason, did the same. Merrimack surged ahead, Vermont did the same. It didn't make a lot of sense to the pundits who watch the conference on a weekly basis. Why were these mediocre-to-bad teams doing so well, and these good teams so poorly?

    The good news for the good teams was that the losing hasn't endured. BC and PC alike have surged ahead since mid-November or so and, while they've endangered their hopes of earning an at-large bid with slow starts, the kind of hot play they've turned in more recently still has them in the conversation. Both for

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  • What We Learned: Anaheim’s lucky Ducks defy hockey logic

    Jan 4, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks mascot Wild Wing holds a flag prior to the game between the Anaheim Ducks and the Nashville Predators at Honda Center. (Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)Jan 4, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks mascot Wild Wing holds a flag prior to the game between the Anaheim Ducks and the Nashville Predators at Honda Center. (Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)

    (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.)

    People don't like to hear it or think about it very much, but such a huge portion of what happens in the NHL over the course of a season is driven by luck, and luck alone, that it boggles the mind.

    When it comes to setting where each team finishes in the standings, luck — or rather, things that cannot be quantified or depended upon or predicted accurately — makes up 38 percent of results. Nearly two-fifths.

    If a defenseman's stick breaks on a point shot attempt and a 2-on-0 goes the other way and scores, that's luck. Luck that the stick broke, luck that the puck went to an opponent, luck that no one could get back to defend, luck that the puck went in. If the same play happens and the 2-on-0 results in a pass that gets flubbed, or a shot that somehow

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  • Why do good goalies have crap seasons? (Trending Topics)

    There was a terribly interesting paywalled story on ESPN.com the other day that attempted to explain why Kari Lehtonen, who was eighth in Vezina voting last season and probably deserved to be higher, is having a crap year. 

    His career average, at this point, is .916, and he hasn’t been below .911 since 2005-06. That is, until this year, when he’s stopping just 90.8 percent of the shots he faces in all situations. So the question is simple: what’s wrong with Kari Lehtonen?

    The short answer is that it’s incredibly difficult to say; Dallas has seemed rather porous this year in comparison with last year, and that’s showing up across the board. Backups Jussi Rynnas and Anders Lindback both have save percentages south of .864, and so the obvious answer to hockey people is that the shot quality the Stars are giving up must be quite high.

    But here’s the problem: Given what we know about the NHL these days — i.e. how shots are tracked and the kind of work that goes into such efforts — unless

    Read More »from Why do good goalies have crap seasons? (Trending Topics)

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