Ryan Lambert

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  • NCAA Hockey 101: Massive sanctions vs. Alaska; what's wrong with Wisconsin?

    <span style=color: #f4f4f4; font-family: Tahoma, Geneva, sans-serif; letter-spacing: 1px; line-height: 20px; text-align: center; background-color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.4);>(photo by Stephen Slade)</span>

    (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.) 

    This year was the final one of conference realignment, as the UConn Huskies moved from Atlantic Hockey to Hockey East.

    What you need to know about UConn is that they are kind of a team without a home, and in a serious state of transition. Their on-campus rink is tiny, cold, and doesn't seat enough people to meet Hockey East conference rules, meaning that even their home games are going to be played in rinks that aren't particularly close to the school: Hartford's XL Center (which is more or less their “home” rink), and Bridgeport's Webster Bank Arena (where they will play five games this year). 

    They're also just now getting up to the allowable 18 scholarships for players, which Hockey East requires, both in terms of the rules and for a team with designs on

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  • What We Learned: Your dislike of Sidney Crosby is facile and childish

    Nov 8, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) with the puck in the Buffalo Sabres zone during the third period at First Niagara Center. Penguins beat the Sabres 6-1. (Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports)Nov 8, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) with the puck in the Buffalo Sabres zone during the third period at First Niagara Center. Penguins beat the Sabres 6-1. (Kevin Hoffman-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.) 

    In case you didn't hear about it (just kidding, you did), Sidney Crosby had five points against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.

    This in and of itself is pretty unremarkable because five assists even if it's not something that comes along too often. The last player to do it was Jamie Benn to the pitiful Calgary Flames last season, and before that Crosby did it to the Islanders in March 2013. This was, in fact, the third five-assist game of Crosby's career. But what is remarkable is how infrequently Crosby is doing this kind of thing to lousy teams this year. He's mostly been doing it to good ones.

    He has seven multiple-point games this season, five of which added three or more to his total each. Five three-point games out of 12 appearances. And a

    Read More »from What We Learned: Your dislike of Sidney Crosby is facile and childish
  • When the Penguins' four-year, $23 million extension for Marc-Andre Fleury was announced on Wednesday, the hockey world quickly divided itself into two camps. First, there was the, “Well, they had to do it and it's fine, I guess,” camp. Second, there was the, “Hahaha, what?” camp. There wasn't really much of a statistically significant, “This is a good deal camp.”

    But what's funny is that even that first camp, the one that ostensibly supported the deal because of Pittsburgh's perceived lack of better options, still have to register their defense of it with more buts than a Sir Mix-A-Lot video. Only the most ardent Penguins fanboys, those who would cite his wins total as a reason to keep Fleury around, were the ones who thought this was an unequivocal slam-dunk great deal by a GM who won't be around to see it come to its probably-fortunate end.

    So it's important to explore what those qualifiers to the Fleury contract, which isn't a very good one, because you'd need a machete to cut

    Read More »from Stop apologizing for that terrible Marc-Andre Fleury contract (Trending Topics)
  • San Jose Sharks&#39; John Scott, top, fights with Vancouver Canucks&#39; Tom Sestito during the first period of an NHL preseason hockey game Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, in Stockton, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)San Jose Sharks' John Scott, top, fights with Vancouver Canucks' Tom Sestito during the first period of an NHL preseason hockey game Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, in Stockton, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)[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.] 

    6. Player discipline

    Remember last week when I said all that stuff about how well-behaved everyone had been for most of October went out the window with a few suspensions being handed out in rapid succession? Yeah, now it looks like the league as a whole is really trying to make up for lost time.

    There was nothing before Oct. 26 (apart from the deeply unfortunate Slava Voynov incident, but that didn't happen on the ice). No fines, no suspensions. Since then, though, John Scott, John Moore, Alex Burrows, Jordan Nolan, Anton Volchenkov and then Andrew Ference

    Read More »from Puck Daddy Power Rankings: NHL suspension explosion; puck luck; tanking for McDavid
  • NCAA Hockey 101: When good teams go bad; Jack Eichel rules as usual

    RPIRPI(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.)

    This weekend saw the crashing halt to the impressive runs for the top teams in the nation.

    All 20 of last week's top-ranked teams played over the weekend, and only four didn't actually lose. Those teams were now-No. 2 North Dakota (beat Air Force in a one-off), No. 6 UMass Lowell (swept UNH), No. 9 Michigan Tech (swept Michigan), and No. 15 Notre Dame (three points from Vermont).

    Everyone else dropped at least one decision, and it was just a very weird weekend nationwide.

    Minnesota and St. Cloud each their home games, okay, you can see that. Two very good teams. Same with BU and Providence splitting their road games. Fair enough. And Miami and Minnesota-Duluth splitting in Duluth. And BC splitting with Denver. All fine.

    But, like, Union being swept by RPI?

    Read More »from NCAA Hockey 101: When good teams go bad; Jack Eichel rules as usual
  • Why waste your rookies? (What We Learned)

    (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 list of players who are NHL-ready at 18 or 19 years old is really not very long at all. More often than not, sure, someone who's the first overall pick or something is for-sure 100 percent able to play in the NHL and be competitive. Far less often, though, someone who's, say, a mid-first or even high-second round pick makes a club and is capable enough.

    And yet every year it seems as though an NHL team is willing to give a kid they just drafted the chance to make the team, and they keep him up. And that, in 2014, doesn't make a lot of sense.

    Here's the situation in which NHL teams should keep junior-eligible players up with the big club: If they are, somehow, a high-quality talent — i.e. cannot be replaced by a regular-old free agent signing — and,

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  • The Sabres are... bad? No way! (Trending Topics)

    One of my big regrets so far this season is the fact that I repeatedly and confidently said out loud and in print, “There's no way the Sabres will be as bad as they were last year.” 

    It seemed impossible. In the pantheon of “truly garbage” NHL teams in the Behind the Net Era — running from 2007-08 to present — the 2013-14 Sabres pretty close to No. 1, with all apologies to the 2007-08 Thrashers, 2013-14 Maple Leafs, and 2012-13 Maple Leafs (who are largely disqualified due to having only been only dreadful over 48 games and not the full 82).

    They were very unskilled, of course, and their roster was wafer-thin. They changed coaches mid-season. They had numerous discipline and injury problems that drained any depth from the roster even more. They traded just about everyone they could get a third-round pick or half-decent prospect for. And again, they weren't even as bad as the Maple Leafs.

    Finishing with just 52 points from 82 games seems like it cannot be a repeatable skill. (And make

    Read More »from The Sabres are... bad? No way! (Trending Topics)
  • Puck Daddy Power Rankings: John Scott, John Moore and Kings' cap planning

    San Jose Sharks&#39; John Scott, top, fights with Anaheim Ducks&#39; Tim Jackman during the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)San Jose Sharks' John Scott, top, fights with Anaheim Ducks' Tim Jackman during the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    [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.]  

    8. “Look how well-behaved everyone has been!”

    Around this time last week it seemed like everyone kind of climbed to the top of the nearest hill, surveyed the beautiful autumn landscape stretched before them, and with hands on hips, inhaled deeply and said with great relish, “Player Safety has really done its job.”

    Not a single suspension through 20 or so days of the season. That's a lot of games, and no one tried to kill anyone. Were there a few borderline incidents? Sure, but who can really remember them? For the most part, everyone was skating around out

    Read More »from Puck Daddy Power Rankings: John Scott, John Moore and Kings' cap planning
  • NCAA Hockey 101: Clash(es) of the titans and Northeastern's struggles

    (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 good thing about conference re-alignment is that it has forced more non-conference games overall, and for the most part like ends up seeking like.

    That means, for instance, that there will be more matchups between teams that aren't legitimate contenders for anything, but also a larger number of non-conference games between some of the best teams in the country. There was no shortage of the latter (and, one supposes, the former) this past weekend. 

    In fact, when it comes to games between nationally ranked teams, there was a huge variety of fascinating games to take in. Union took on St. Cloud, North Dakota hosted Providence, Michigan visited Lowell and BU, and Denver traveled to Duluth. And wouldn't you know it, pretty much all those matchups were deeply

    Read More »from NCAA Hockey 101: Clash(es) of the titans and Northeastern's struggles
  • What We Learned: Are the Minnesota Wild lucky or good?

    Oct 25, 2014; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild forward Erik Haula (56) celebrates his goal during the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Xcel Energy Center. (Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports)Oct 25, 2014; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild forward Erik Haula (56) celebrates his goal during the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Xcel Energy Center. (Marilyn Indahl-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.)

    The Minnesota Wild have eight points in six games, which is good for the eighth-best points-per-game in the league before the end of Sunday's games.

    They trail some true giants in the league right now (just in the Western Conference there's Anaheim and Los Angeles and Nashville, all of which have more games played) and aren't even top-three in their own mega-tough division. A few weeks ago, Mike Yeo was lamenting how tough their conference is, and clearly if you can win four of your first six games and not even be one of the three best teams in your given seven-team group, you have reasonable concerns.

    Yeah, they're technically holding onto that eighth and final playoff spot in the West by the skin of their teeth, but what the Wild are doing to this

    Read More »from What We Learned: Are the Minnesota Wild lucky or good?

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