Ryan Lambert

  • Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins MVP (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 3 hrs ago

    The Pittsburgh Penguins have been extremely lucky in this series against the Washington Capitals in two respects.  

    First and foremost, given the politicking (see also: whining and gamesmanship) involved, they were in many ways fortunate to only see Kris Letang suspended one game by the NHL Department of Player Safety. The penalty theoretically could have been harsher given Marcus Johansson's status at the time the decision was made; he didn't skate the day after, but made a miraculous recovery in time to participate in Game 3.

    More to the point, though, the Penguins were lucky to pick up the W in overtime of Game 4, and go up 3-1 in the series as a consequence. This is true insofar as anyone is lucky to win an overtime playoff game, but also because winning in Letang's absence has long proven difficult for Pittsburgh. This year alone, Letang missed 11 games, and the Pens rescued just three points of a possible 22. That's beyond abysmal.

    But here's the thing about Letang that should really already be warranting him consideration as the Pens' most valuable player in this postseason: The rest of the team is really quite bad when he's off the ice.

  • Huge if True: NHL coaching carousel waits on Bruce Boudreau

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 20 hrs ago

    As of right now, four NHL teams are without their head coaches.

    The first to jettison theirs, way back while the season was still going on, was the Minnesota Wild. John Torchetti was their interim coach down the stretch and right up until this second, but the Wild are actively looking at other options as well.

    Then came the Ottawa Senators, which turfed Dave Cameron right around the time when the regular season came to an end. Last week it was the Anaheim Ducks giving Bruce Boudreau, who lost another Game 7 with Anaheim, the ol' heave-ho. And on Tuesday morning it was the Calgary Flames unceremoniously kicking Bob Hartley to the curb because he wasn't a good head coach.

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    So that's four vacancies and, as we'll see in a minute, there remains no shortage of options. In doing the research here, you would have had to clock out pretty early to find fewer than a dozen names mentioned in connection with at least one of these jobs, so obviously this is going to get very heated very quickly.

    The Rumor


  • Maple Leafs, Penguins bias and World Cup ads (Puck Daddy Countdown)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 2 days ago

    (Ed. Note: The column formerly known as the Puck Daddy Power Rankings. Ryan Lambert takes a look at some of the biggest issues and stories in the NHL, and counts them down.)

    7. Bob Hartley

    As the Calgary Flames stumbled out of the gate, going 3-8-1 in October. Around the end of that month it became obvious (to me) that Hartley had a very good chance of being the fastest coach in NHL history to go from “Jack Adams Winner” to “Extremely Fired.”

    The previous winner was Philadelphia's Bill Barber, who won in 2001 and was turfed the next summer, just 320 days. Hartley did the same this year, but did indeed break the record: He lasted another 313 days.

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    Now, the media spent most of Tuesday morning out here playing a sad violin solo for Hartley, who's apparently a very nice guy. Of course, he was also a very bad NHL coach who got very lucky once and won an award for it.


  • Puck Lists: 8 guys I'd like to see win the Stanley Cup

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 2 days ago

    (As the NCAA hockey season is done, our own Ryan Lambert needed something on which to opine. Say hello to a special Tuesday series from yer boy RL, PUCK LISTS, in which he arbitrarily lists hockey things.)

    8. Any one of several of the guys on the team, Nashville Predators 

    I don't particularly care if the Predators win the Cup except to say that they are ostensibly the team I want to see do the best in general. Any one guy who wins it, sure, that's fine. Whatever. Go Preds and all that.

    But there are a list of guys on that team I definitively do not want to see win the Cup. Mega-creep Mike Ribeiro is probably Nos. 1-65 on the list. I also kinda don't want to have to hear how Shea Weber is one of the league's great defensemen (he is absolutely not) when and if he wins a Cup. And James Neal, given all the elbowing and so on, probably doesn't deserve it.

    Other guys who are good and nice and I like them: Filip Forsberg, Roman Josi, Craig Smith, Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, Pekka Rinne, Colin Wilson. Bonus shoutout for backup goalie Carter Hutton, who is a very nice guy and I would like to see him win as well.

    7. Jay Bouwmeester, St. Louis Blues

  • What We Learned: How Lightning unlocked Jonathan Drouin’s dominance

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 4 days ago

    (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.)

    That Jonathan Drouin has stepped up to become a big contributor for the Tampa Bay Lightning in this postseason should only be surprising because of how the team treated him this season.

    The story's been told over and over again, but Drouin had difficulty gaining the trust of coach Jon Cooper for reasons still unclear. Things got so bad that he requested a trade early in the season, and ended up being sent down to the AHL about two months later. Then there was the failure to report drama, and then the dominant performances with Syracuse — 11-2-13 and 55(!) shots on goal in 17 games — before he was recalled late in the season.

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    Which is to say “perhaps unwisely.”

    Look how much of a difference he's seen:

    What We Learned

    Play of the Weekend

    Gold Star Award

    Minus of the Weekend


  • Don’t fire Bruce Boudreau, Anaheim (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 7 days ago

    Basically the second the Ducks went down 2-0 in Game 7 on Wednesday night, people began speculating whether this was it for Bruce Boudreau behind the bench in Anaheim.

    You can see why they would. The guy loses Game 7 matchups on an alarmingly regular basis, and his teams so often seem to put up little or no fight to their opponents in the process. He's 1-7 in his career in such situations, and has dropped six straight. That kind of thing builds you a reputation in this sport, and it's a reputation you certainly do not want to carry. 

    In fact, in the last four Boudreau-coached seasons, the Ducks have found themselves in 2-0 holes less than 17 minutes into each of the four Games 7 they have played. They also faced a 2-0 deficit in 2010 against Montreal (2-1 loss) and were down 5-0 against Pittsburgh in 2009 before scoring (6-2 loss). Only Game 7 against the Flyers in 2008 (a 3-2 overtime loss) and Game 7 in the opening round against the Rangers in 2009 (a 2-1 win, but they conceded 5:35 into the game) blemish this otherwise ignominious record.

    Again, the reputation grows.

    Over the course of his entire career, Boudreau's teams look like this:



  • Huge If True: Who survives Blackhawks cap crunch?

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 8 days ago

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

    Well, Chicago lost in the first round and in a lot of ways it could begin to feel like the walls are closing in on a lot of players on that roster.

    This team is quite likely to push a number of people out the door as they continue to attempt another run at a Stanley Cup while it's still a possibility. The list of guys who are probably going to be moving on from the organization is long, depending upon whose insight you believe, but there are a few players who aren't going anywhere.

    First of all, there's basically no chance either Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane go anywhere, given that they each now cost $10.5 million against the cap, and are extremely valuable. Kane is about to be the reigning MVP, and while Toews didn't really have a good season (and an even worse playoff), he's still only 27 and viewed as an elite center.

    Finally there's Corey Crawford, an excellent goaltender signed at $6 million per season through 2020. He's not going anywhere either.

    The Rumor

    “Cap squeeze” doesn't begin to cover it. So how do you fix the problem?

    Who's Going Where?

    The Implications

  • Penguins, Ken Holland and conspiracy theories (Puck Daddy Countdown)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 9 days ago

    10. Rob Scuderi-havers 

    Rob Scuderi was traded twice this season. The first team that acquired him got bounced in seven games in the first round. The second team that acquired him got eliminated in five. The team that got rid of him in the first place humiliated its first-round opponent and seems like it probably has the best chance to win the Cup.

    Is that a coincidence? Who's to say, really?

    9. CalgaryNext

    Remember when the parent company for the Calgary Flames, Hitmen, Stampeders, and Roughnecks — a multi-million dollar corporation — went to the City of Calgary and said, “We'd like you to give us $890 million to build a new stadium for the football team and arena for the hockey and lacrosse teams? And remember how that was really gross?

    So now they're going back to the drawing board on the whole thing and the city council seems to at least be willing to listen if the Flames have an actual concrete plan to go with. I wouldn't plan on holding your breath for that.

    8. Possibly feuding with your best player

    And honestly, it's just not good coaching either way.

    7. Ken Holland

    As long as those 6-foot-4 guys are also All-Stars. That helps a lot.

    6. Conspiracy theories

  • Puck Lists: 8 worst NHL Playoff goals that I just remembered right now

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 9 days ago

    (As the NCAA hockey season is done, our own Ryan Lambert needed something on which to opine. Say hello to a special Tuesday series from yer boy RL, PUCK LISTS, in which he arbitrarily lists hockey things.)  

    8. Kevin Bieksa on Antti Niemi, May 24, 2011

    Weird bounces happen in the playoffs. Take, for example, this goal that eliminated the Sharks from the 2011 Western Conference Final, in double overtime.

    Alex Edler attempts a chip in from the blue line, but it goes about five feet down the boards before it hits the stanchion and bounces straight to Kevin Bieksa. No one on the ice but Bieksa seemed to have the faintest idea where the puck was, and San Jose was busy indicating that it must have gone over the glass while Bieksa was knuckle-pucking a shot past Niemi. In fact, it appears that it wasn't until the very last second that Niemi is even aware there was a shot at all.

    Of all the people on the ice, though, Niemi should have been the guy to see it. He doesn't have to watch anything but the puck when it's out at the blue line like that. Yeah, you can lose it sometimes, but you really shouldn't. Have to think fatigue was a factor here.


  • What We Learned: How do you fix the NY Rangers?

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 11 days ago

    The problems with the New York Rangers were evident, in the last few years, to anyone who paid attention.

    The defense wasn't very good and seemingly worsening every year. The forward depth wasn't being utilized in a particularly helpful way. Money was allocated seemingly at random, or at least based on deeply outmoded thinking. The cupboards were nearly bare from having routinely raided in pursuit of keeping the club competitive. The lineups on any given night were typically suboptimal.

    That was certainly the case Saturday in the 6-3 drubbing at the hands of a significantly superior Pittsburgh Penguins club.

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    But now, after Saturday's Game 5 bounce-out at the hands of the rejuvenated Penguins, all those faults are laid bare, if they weren't already. And that means so very difficult and probably costly decisions have to be made.

    What We Learned

    Play of the Weekend