Ryan Lambert

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  • NCAA Hockey: Jack Eichel line leads BU; Minnesota annihilated

    In which we recap the day’s events in the NCAA tournament.

    MANCHESTER, N.H. — The danger was clear: Yale might shut down the BU top line.

    The danger was also remote, sure, but you’re talking about Yale, the No. 1 defensive team in the country. And yeah, you’re also talking about BU, the No. 1 offensive team in the country, and a top line centered by Jack Eichel, which entered the game having outscored opponents by 39 at even strength this season, and which carried a possession share in excess of 60 percent when it was on the ice.

    An unfortunate tendency toward slow starts in the first period appeared to have long since been vanquished, too.

    Yale, meanwhile, was a strong possession team in their own right (53.1 percent corsi, 19th in the country) with a lights-out goaltending and a clear disposition toward … well, not necessarily stifling attempts per se, but certainly limiting second- and third-chance opportunities. Alex Lyon, as good a goalie as there was in the country this season,

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  • Why terrible GMs would love to raise NHL Draft age (Trending Topics)

    Craig Custance had a terribly interesting piece on Wednesday about the slowly bubbling idea among some general managers, and certainly emanating from the the NHL itself, that would fundamentally change the sport.

    The idea is a simple one: Raise the draft age from 18 to 20. 

    Today, only about 1 in 5 players who get drafted end up playing more than 200 NHL games, and it's thought that the 20 percent success rate comes in large part from the ability to project what a 17-year-old kid will be as a player five, eight, or 10 years later. If you tack on two more years for the evaluation process, you reduce your chances of missing on a pick substantially, at least in theory.

    The thing is, that's probably true, just in terms of the number of players who are NHL-ready at the age of 20 versus 18. You know that implicitly; there are far more guys in the NHL at 20 than 18, and those who do make it at 18 tend to have notable impacts. However, some are clearly more-ready than others at that age. To

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  • NCAA hockey tournament preview: Another wide-open field

    It's not really fun or interesting to say “Any team could win this thing” — and it's also not true — but almost any team could win this thing.

    There are so many teams in the field of 16 this season that can absolutely steal a game from a higher seed or fend off tough competition from a lower one just as easily as they could lose. While a 16-team field obviously produces eight “favorites,” you probably wouldn't be too wise to bet on the chalk in this one.

    Let's first consider the No. 1 overall team Minnesota State Mavericks. They reigned supreme this year with the best record in college hockey (29-7-3) behind the best possession game in the country. Now, would they win 29 games if their conference didn't feature three teams from the bottom eight on a national basis? Obviously not. They played Alabama-Huntsville, Lake Superior State, and Alaska Anchorage a combined eight times this season, and predictably won them all (34-7 on aggregate in fact), so that helps pad out the ol' winning

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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. “Fans don't care about CapGeek.”

    Just make salary information publicly available, you dopes. Everyone wants it.

    6. The Bruins

    Just when you thought things couldn't possibly get any worse, the David Krejci-less Boston Bruins, losers of their last five and surrenderers of the final playoff spot in the East, announce that Dougie Hamilton is out “indefinitely.”

    In effect, that probably means “until next season,” because the Bruins without their Nos. 2 center and defenseman are dead in the water, and that's if Andrew Hammond starts playing to his career

    Read More »from Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Bruins' playoff hopes; college hockey awards; Calder race
  • What We Learned: Why can’t Boston Bruins close deal on playoff spot?

    (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.) 

    So we’re at the point in the season where the standings are starting to look worrisome for some teams and hope springs for those clubs that are on the outside looking in. The odds that you make up a point or two in the standings might not be great, but hell if they don’t feel great, and isn’t that the important thing?

    The majority of the playoff spots are more or less sewn up. Clubs don’t have a lot of mobility whether they’re locked in or not, but the eighth and ninth spots in both conferences remain very much up for grabs. Calgary has a rather narrow lead over Los Angeles and you can’t exactly feel good about that game in hand if you’re the Flames. For all the talk about how easy the Flames’ schedule is down the stretch, it features a lot of road

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  • Can Devan Dubnyk keep this up? (Trending Topics)

    There's been a lot of attention paid to a goalie who singlehandedly revived his team's playoff chances in the last little while here, and it's not to say that Andrew Hammond doesn't deserve it.

    But if Devan Dubnyk had a name that could be turned into a lovable food convict I think we'd still be talking about the incredible things he has done and is indeed still doing for Minnesota. The good news for Dubnyk is that, like Hammond, he's an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and he's going to have a lot of leverage in contract talks with Minnesota. “Do you really want Darcy Kuemper over me?”

    So the question for Minnesota is how much they ought to fork over to Dubnyk in terms of both the number of years and the dollar value of a deal. The sad truth for the Wild is that they can probably ill afford to let him walk. 

    Dubnyk does, however, have two things working against him: Perception and, to some extent, reality. The reality, for example, is that he is not a .935 goaltender. No one is a

    Read More »from Can Devan Dubnyk keep this up? (Trending Topics)
  • [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. St. Patrick's Day jerseys

    Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day, which is a good day to stay home if you live within a square mile of a bar that doesn't check IDs too closely. And with it comes some supremely obnoxious clothes-wearing. And because corporations know that the people who think green beer is a good idea will buy literally anything that's green, so too does the NHL sell green jerseys with Celtic-looking letters and hilarious jokes like “O'Vechkin” and “McCrosby” on the back.

    With a price of about $140, the fact that they sold even one of these

    Read More »from Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Dumb green jerseys, Penguins problems, Nail Yakupov
  • Your guide to NCAA Hockey Championship Weekend

    The Frozen Four is a little less than a month away but the most exciting weekend in college hockey is coming up in just a few days: Championship weekend. The field across the country has been whittled down from 59 teams to just 26 (thanks, insipid Big Ten tournament that allows all six teams!) and for the most part, hope is alive for all 26. 

    And look, I'm about to say that a lot of these tournaments are anyone's to win. I hate saying this kind of thing, because that's all that most college hockey writing and analysis is. “These teams are all really good!” and so on. But I'm not really enamored of anyone this season like I was last year with Union, BC, and Minnesota; no one jumps off the page as being truly and deeply excellent from top to bottom. I have some teams left that I like more than others, but for the most part just about any goofy result this weekend would make me say, “Hmm, yeah, weird, but I can see that.” So I'm sorry in advance for sounding wishy-washy, but the fact is

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  • What We Learned: Sharks should trade Doug Wilson instead

    (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 is becoming increasingly obvious that this season will probably be Joe Thornton's last in San Jose, because you don't normally tell your GM to “shut his mouth” and call him a liar through the media and stick around for too long after that.

    And so the Sharks are at a crossroads. Rumors swirl that the general manager would have liked to see Joe Pavelski named captain over the summer, after stripping Thornton of the duty at the same time, but that there wasn't really a lot of support for that in the Sharks' room. Everyone still likes Joe Thornton and what he brings to the table, except his GM apparently.

    The first part of Wilson's quote was relatively innocuous, “He cares too much and yells too much,” and all that stuff. He's said it all before. What he

    Read More »from What We Learned: Sharks should trade Doug Wilson instead
  • The value of Nazem Kadri in Toronto (Trending Topics)

    There are a lot of controversial players on the Toronto Maple Leafs roster at any given time. That's how it goes in Toronto.

    The one grabbing headlines this week was, for once, not Phil Kessel or Dion Phaneuf, but rather Nazem Kadri. The reason was that he missed a team meeting — he overslept, apparently — and it wasn't for the first time. So he was healthy-scratched by the club for three games in what is probably a rather pivotal contract year for him.

    The difference in three games of missed time might not make a big deal to his point totals or bargaining position, per se, but effectively being suspended by the team for them as punishment for missing meetings might. Now the Leafs get to ask, “Is this a guy around whom we want to build our team?” Even if the obvious answer is an emphatic yes, that gives them a little more flexibility.

    The tear-down of the Leafs roster as it's currently constituted is probably going to come pretty quickly. Most people expect that the club will shop

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