Ryan Lambert

  • Tarasenko didn't disappear, Vlasic just dominated (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 21 hrs ago

    Because hockey observers must have an inexhaustible supply of opinions on all things, one of the things that got talked about a lot in the now-finished Western Conference Final was that Vladimir Tarasenko was a no-show.

    He finished the series with two goals and no assists in six games, and both those strikes came in garbage time in the series' only elimination game. He mustered 15 shots on goal, tied for the most on the team, but that number would have only been fifth on the Sharks. That's how badly not only he, but his entire team got pushed around.

    Star players get paid to show up and all that. That's what the people were yelling about Tarasenko's non-performance, because this sport in particular seems to place undue pressure on star players to perform, and blame them when an entire team fails. This despite the fact that even the sport's busiest players — high-end defensemen — only play about half the game in best-case scenarios for their teams. Star forwards probably play closer to 35 percent of the game.

    Just two numbers to keep in mind for the rest of this piece: Four. And Zero. Remember those two numbers. 


  • Projecting Canada's final World Cup of Hockey roster

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 1 day ago

    The final World Cup of Hockey roster will be announced for Canada on Friday evening, and they're going to pick seven multiple-time All-Stars and call it a day.

    Look, there's no mystery here. Canada goes in, picks a handful of the 10 best centers and maybe a few wingers and Norris-caliber defensemen and says, “Okay we're done.”

    You could ask a small child within limited understanding of the sport and have him do just as good as job as Doug Armstrong inevitably will. Picking a Hockey Canada team is not at all hard. And even if you that up, the 16 other multiple-time All-Stars you picked probably paper over your mistakes pretty convincingly. And even if they don't Mike Babcock with assistant coaches like Claude Julien, Barry Trotz, Joel Quenneville, and Bill Peters will implement a tight enough system that even that probably doesn't matter.

    ( Ed. note: bolded names have already been selected )


    Jamie Benn — Tyler Seguin — Jonathan Toews

    Taylor Hall — Sidney Crosby — Steven Stamkos


    Ryan Getzlaf 



  • Who makes the final cut for Team USA World Cup of Hockey roster?

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 1 day ago

    The final World Cup of Hockey roster will be announced for the United States Friday evening, and honestly nothing would come as a surprise at this point. 

    The good news is Dean Lombardi, who seems to be a pretty shrewd observer of the game and does a good job identifying talent, is the team's general manager. We also know 16 of the 23 players already on the team, which makes it a little easier to guess at what Lombardi might be going for with his club.

    Near as I can tell, there's no Great Panel Of American Hockey Minds to gather around and conspire against the relatively few actually super-talented players the country has produced. No one to reveal prophetic dreams presaging disaster if Phil Kessel were to make the team. That works in America's favor.

    The bad news is John Tortorella is inexplicably still the coach of the team, and that makes it a lot tougher to: a) win, b) guess what kind of roster construction they're actually going to go for here, and c) play remotely entertaining hockey.



    Ryan Kesler 

  • Huge if True: Examining that bad Kevan Miller contract extension

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 1 day ago

    [HUGE IF TRUE breaks down the plausibility of the week's biggest rumor.]

    On Tuesday, the Boston Bruins announced a baffling extension for Kevan Miller.

    Four years, $10 million.

    Both those numbers are galling for entirely different reasons, and most everyone outside of a 10-foot radius of Don Sweeney's office seems to agree with that assessment. Sweeney spent a good portion of the day getting his teeth kicked in by even the most homer-bent of Bruins reporters, because this is an indefensibly bad contract to give one of your team's numerous bottom-pairing defensemen.

    [Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Hockey contest today]

    However, when this deal was announced, there was also a lot of shrugging from even the most vociferous critic. “That's what he would have gotten on the open market,” they all said. 

    The answer is: You'd hope not, but you also know the NHL well enough to know that's not the case.

  • Hot takes, Panthers' changes and guarantees (Puck Daddy Countdown)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 3 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. Writers of hot takes

    A few weeks ago Deadspin had an article about “The Death of the Hot Sports Take,” which as we know was a hot sports media take in and of itself because the hot sports take is going quite literally nowhere.

    What we're seeing instead is the rise in awareness of the hot sports take, and the rightful excoriation of those who would deploy it. So now, when writers come up with sizzling takes, they couch their scorching takes by saying they really, really don't want to have to write them. Like, really, they know the take is molten but man, someone has to say it and they guess it might as well be them.


    But right now, I don’t care.

    This is beautiful. 

    6. The hot takes themselves

    Hmm yes.

    5. Vegas

    4. Stamkos suitors

    3. Old School Guys

    2. Guarantee-dismissing

  • The 8 reasons that Russian hockey urination video is very fake (Puck List)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 3 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.)

    This week, a video surfaced apparently showing a Team USA hockey fan jiggling and urinating in the Russian team locker room at the IIHF world championships.

    Here are eight reasons it’s obviously very fake. 

    8. I don't buy dude's accent

    The pee-er himself, Mike, says “Datsyuk” in a very strange way, first of all. It is the only word he says in the video, and it's not a particularly American-sounding accent.

    The person behind the camera has a more believable accent, of course, but it sounds more than a little put on. In addition, the first words out of his mouth are, “You guys, we're at the World Championships in Moscow. In the dressing room of the Russians.”

    (Also Canada, the Europe of North America.)

    Third, listen to the way he says, “Moscow.” The accent breaks there.

    7. It's bleeped

    I ain't buyin' that.

  • What We Learned: NHL free agent blues for Backes, Brouwer

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 5 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.)

    The NHL is getting smarter every year. Despite that, some bad free agent decisions get made every summer. 

    How many times has it happened that a strong playoff performance by an otherwise just-OK player results in too many dollars for entirely too many years?

    Yes, too many. You can be very, very certain that it's going to happen again.

    Two guys who certainly seem to fall into the category of “pending UFAs whose playoff performances are going to get them straight-up paid” are the big goal-scorers for the Blues. David Backes and Troy Brouwer both have seven goals in this postseason, tied with Vladimir Tarasenko and Logan Couture for fourth in the league. The latter two are guys whose career-long performance shows they can contribute at a high level.

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    What We Learned

    Oh my.

  • Being late to the Phil Kessel Party (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 7 days ago

    It has always been incredibly difficult to score in the playoffs. Few players can do it reliably. Even fewer can do it in so dominant a fashion as to average a point in every playoff game of their careers. 

    Among all active players, only four have played in at least 30 playoff games and recorded an average of a point per game. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, not surprisingly, are in the lead with 131 and 121, respectively, in 114 postseason games each. Mike Cammalleri brings up the rear with 32 in 32. And nestled right in the middle after Wednesday night's Game 3 performance is Phil Kessel, with 37 in 36.

    And among all active players, Kessel trails only Vladimir Tarasenko in playoff goals per game. He's back by 0.03 a night.

    The book on Kessel, of course, is that he is and always has been a total loser idiot who sucks and never tries, which is why the Bruins traded him to Toronto when they had the chance, and why the Leafs traded him to Pittsburgh last summer as they tried to rebuild their team.

    And he's 25th in primary points per 60 in all situations.

    All stats via War on Ice unless otherwise stated.


  • Case against the case for trading Alex Ovechkin (Huge If True)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 8 days ago

    Well it's that time of year again: The Washington Capitals are out of the playoffs and many people have seemingly decided that the best way for them to improve is to trade the guy who has led the league in goal-scoring for each of the last four seasons.

    Much like the blossoming of the cherry trees around Washington, D.C., the nation's capital has fallen in recent years onto an annual tradition of shivving Alex Ovechkin for problems that are not his fault.

    No surprise here, but noted hockey liker Mike Wilbon of ESPN and the Washington Post fired a pre-emptive strike while the Caps were still playing, saying that if the team were to lose Game 5 — of a series they were trailing 3-1 at the time — then Ovechkin had to go . He's never made it to a Cup Final so he has to go. Same old crap from a guy who spent, let's say, three minutes total this season accidentally watching the Caps.

    The Rumor

    Let's go with that as far as we can.

    At first glance, the notion of trading Ovechkin seems absolutely crazy.

    So far I am with you.

    The Implications

  • Steven Stamkos, NHL suspensions and LA Kings' future (Puck Daddy Countdown)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 9 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.)  

    8. The Department of Player Safety

    Game 1 of Tampa/Pittsburgh was, to put it kindly, a melee.

    Ryan Callahan boarded Kris Letang in a very scary incident, and it only got worse from there. Ondrej Palat hit Brian Dumoulin in a similar if less plainly intended manner. Chris Kunitz went knee-to-knee on Tyler Johnson with another borderline hit.

    And for all we know, the Department of Player Safety never even thought about picking up the phone. Well, probably they thought about it in the same way the average person thinks to themselves, “Maybe I'll have the lobster tonight” and then decides, nah, can't justify that.

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    Which isn't the job description.

    7. Messing with Joe Thornton's beard

    3. The Kings