Ryan Lambert

  • Like
  • Follow
Author
  • COLUMBUS, OH - JANUARY 25:  Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks and Team Toews poses for a portrait prior to the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Nationwide Arena on January 25, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)COLUMBUS, OH - JANUARY 25: Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks and Team Toews poses for a portrait prior to the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Nationwide Arena on January 25, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)The new All-Star Game format is an exciting one, and it's actually a case of the NHL listening to its fans.

    The long-held opinion and correct opinion on the Game itself, from basically all corners, was that it sucked. Games ending in scores that rival defensive struggles on the football field aren't necessarily fun to watch just because they have a ton of goals in them, and a big reason for that is the intensity of these games come in at negative-193,856 on a scale of 1 to 10.

    Never mind the fact that everyone is skating off a hangover.

    The Skills Competition is fun, and it's staying. The All-Star Draft is too fun and it's gone. But the League has done more to ensure that the game will be free-flowing and intense with this format, because the winning 11-player team gets to split $1 million.

    [Play Yahoo Daily Fantasy and get a 100% deposit bonus with your first deposit]

    Now, I find it difficult to root for Jonathan Toews or PK Subban to pull an extra $91,000 for winning a couple of

    Read More »from NHL All-Star 3-on-3 roster projections: Central Division is nuts (Trending Topics)
  • Huge If True: Is a Matt Duchene trade plausible?

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

    The Rumor

    The stock-in-trade of rumor mongers across the league is the fact that they come up with things that theoretically could happen. Very few of them will actually say things like, “The Penguins are struggling, so I've heard they're looking to trade Sidney Crosby for Luca Sbisa, Bo Horvat, and a first-round pick.” That is implausible, and you would tell them so.

    Instead, they say things like, “The Penguins are struggling, so I've heard they're looking to trade Chris Kunitz for Luca Sbisa, Bo Horvat, and a third-round pick.” Everything there seems reasonable enough that you'd at least see it happening, right? Run a trade proposal through NHL 16 or whatever, see what gets approved, and you're ready to go.

    Which is why the Matt Duchene rumors this week were so interesting (and not just because it's being reported pretty much exclusively by credible sources). No one in their right minds would trade Matt Duchene because a

    Read More »from Huge If True: Is a Matt Duchene trade plausible?
  • Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesPhoto by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images(Ed. Note: The column formerly known as the Puck Daddy Power Rankings.)

    10. Move to 4-on-4

    A fun idea that will literally never happen.

    The NHLPA would never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever allow this. It effectively costs the league's lower-level players jobs and money, because even if roster sizes are the same, you're rolling six two-man forward groups instead of four three-man lines. How much do you think a sixth-line forward plays per night? How much do you think that guy earns? How much job security do you think he has?

    The answer to all three: Not much.

    9. Making the nets bigger

    This is the stupidest idea. Next?

    8. Change the size of the ice

    Making the ice surface bigger will reduce the number of very expensive seats on the glass, which is a non-starter for owners. Making it smaller will result in a player getting killed because the game will become far more physical. There's not enough room out there for 5-on-5 as it is.

    [Play Yahoo Daily Fantasy and get a 100% deposit bonus

    Read More »from Going 4-on-4, calling penalties and shrinking goalie gear (Wednesday Countdown)
  • NCAA Hockey 101: Maine’s time as hockey powerhouse over?

    A few weeks ago I was tempted to write about how Maine's hockey program has gone off a cliff. 

    They started the season 0-0-3, with ties against Michigan State, North Dakota, and Union. Then they lost four straight to Union, Quinnipiac, UMass, and Princeton. 

    Some of those games were winnable (the lost to UMass in overtime and Princeton isn't very good), some were very much not (Quinnipiac is laying college hockey to waste so far). The three teams they tied are actually pretty good.

    But since then, disaster. They went 0-4 against BC and Lowell — and okay, those are also games in which they shouldn't be able to reasonably stay competitive — but with just a single goal scored, and 13 allowed. And the whole “scoring one goal in four games” thing is obviously bad, but it's pretty indicative of an overall problem: The Black Bears have no offense to speak of.

    Through 11 games, they've scored exactly that many goals. And allowed nearly three times as many. And that's with a respectable team

    Read More »from NCAA Hockey 101: Maine’s time as hockey powerhouse over?
  • What We Learned: Is Boston Bruins' defense good enough to contend?

    (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 Bruins won on Saturday night, giving them their second win in three games, but also just their second since the beginning of November.

    It was a concerning trend for a team that had earned points in all of their previous seven games (6-0-1), and one they seemed at a loss to comprehend. Here's Torey Krug on Friday, bemoaning an issue cited by just about anyone in the lineup and behind the bench over this borderline-futile stretch:

    “I mean, we say the right things. It’s a group that, we still have a bunch of leaders in here that know who to win, and we say the right things, and [we] just don’t act on them. Sometimes it just feels like you don’t have the ‘it’ factor. We’ve got to make sure that we somehow capture it and move forward.”

    The “it” factor is,

    Read More »from What We Learned: Is Boston Bruins' defense good enough to contend?
  • Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty ImagesPhoto by Joel Auerbach/Getty ImagesThe good news about the Justin Abdelkader extension — seven years with a $4.25 million AAV — is that everyone except Ken Holland immediately thought it was ludicrous.

    The bad news is that the Red Wings are now stuck with it for the next seven years. But one supposes that “bad” is a relative term which depends entirely upon your point of view. 

    If, for example, you are a player of middling quality who is approaching free agency this summer, then this contract is great news. Because if a guy like Abdelkader can get a team to fork over seven years, paying him until he's 36 years old(!), then it's very likely that anyone can. This contract skews the free agent market so precipitously that it's going to be tough for any general manager to argue Half-Decent Player X shouldn't get at least five years.

    [Play Yahoo Daily Fantasy and get a 100% deposit bonus with your first deposit]

    You don't even have to get into everyone's favorite advanced stats to realize this contract was immediately

    Read More »from Why Justin Abdelkader's extension is one of the worst contracts in the NHL (Trending Topics)
  • Huge if True: So it's come to this: A Patrick Marleau trade rumor

    Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesPhoto by Christian Petersen/Getty Images[HUGE IF TRUE is a column breaking down the plausibility of the week's biggest rumor.]

    The Rumor

    Here's how you know for sure that the whole “The Sharks Are Gonna Trade Patrick Marleau This Year And This Time I'm Serious It's Real” thing is overblown: When asked about the latest round of rumors, the man himself said, “Starting early this year.”

    The genesis of this particular rumor, as I'm sure you're all well aware at this point, was Elliotte Friedman's report on Hockey Night In Canada'sHeadlines” segment with Damien Cox: 

    “We begin with a complex one. It's difficult to pin down because none of the particulars are talking. The trade market is tight right now, but one of the names we're hearing out there is Patrick Marleau. Now, he's got a no-move clause, there's zero evidence the Sharks have asked him to waive it. So I can't say who is pushing for it, but his name, Damien, is definitely out there.”

    So this is basically the really, really great fertilizer for any rumor. That gets

    Read More »from Huge if True: So it's come to this: A Patrick Marleau trade rumor
  • Big nets, bad hockey parents and Ryan Getzlaf (Wednesday Countdown)

    LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 23:  Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks attends the 2015 NHL Awards nominee media availability at MGM Grand Arena on June 23, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 23: Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks attends the 2015 NHL Awards nominee media availability at MGM Grand Arena on June 23, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)(Ed. Note: The column formerly known as the Puck Daddy Power Rankings.) 

    7. Hockey parents

    I think this Flint Firebirds thing might be the most egregious incident of a crybaby hockey dad embarrassing his kid in the history of the sport. Certainly, there can't be too many bigger than this if there are.

    Maybe you say, like, Eric Lindros or something like that. But this is if Lindros's dad owned the Nordiques or something.

    So Flint is a first-year club and it is not very good. It's not all that bad, either, at 7-9-1, but it's hard to satisfy yourself with being two games below .500 as, like, this good thing, even if you're just starting out. But hey, they beat Oshawa in a big ol' game, and yet the coaches get fired immediately thereafter.

    Why? Because the owner-slash-GM's kid isn't getting enough ice time, including demanding time on the power play. Good lord. Can you imagine being such an unprofessional idiot that you're like, “Hey coach of this team in a serious development league, play

    Read More »from Big nets, bad hockey parents and Ryan Getzlaf (Wednesday Countdown)
  • NCAA Hockey 101: Can the Big Ten be a good conference this year?

    On paper the Big Ten ought to be a conference that cleans up every single season.

    Minnesota. Michigan. Wisconsin. Historical powerhouses. Ohio State. Michigan State. Penn State. Big-name schools that should have the ability to compete financially with just about anyone in the country. 

    In its first season, Big Ten teams collectively went .600 against all out-of-conference competition, winning 50 of 90 games. It was clearly a step below Hockey East and the NCHC, but it sent two of its six teams to the NCAA tournament, with Minnesota and Wisconsin both earning No. 1 seeds at their respective regionals. The Gophers even made it to the national championship game. 

    Then last year, disaster. Just .466 out of conference, with losing records against every other league but Atlantic Hockey and the ECAC. In theory, these are groups of teams the Big Ten should be grinding into a fine powder, but not only did they not do that, they also got outscored dramatically more or less across the board. Not

    Read More »from NCAA Hockey 101: Can the Big Ten be a good conference this year?
  • What We Learned: How much difference does Mike Babcock make?

    The biggest news event of the summer in the NHL, at least as far as on-ice things go, was Mike Babcock eschewing the Red Wings to move into the most lucrative coaching gig in league history with the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

    This was noteworthy not just because of the money and the fact that this is the best-publicized team in hockey, but also because it was a guy with a reputation for ultra-competitiveness and a sizable ego going from one of the most successful coaching jobs in recent memory (he is currently 12th in win percentages among NHL coaches all-time) to a position that, while extremely beneficial financially, also might be the least desirable in the league.

    The Leafs are a disaster in terms of what their roster looks like right now, especially because they just traded away by far the best player they've had in years. It's going to take a lot of digging to get out from under what Randy Carlyle and Dave Nonis did to this club, and with that comes the very real prospect that a Mike

    Read More »from What We Learned: How much difference does Mike Babcock make?

Pagination

(933 Stories)