Ryan Lambert

  • NCAA hockey tournament preview: Another wide-open field

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 10 hrs ago

    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 percentage. But this is a good team that would have competed in any conference.

    No. 1 Minnesota State Mavericks (29-7-3)

    No. 2 North Dakota (27-9-3)

    No. 9 Harvard Crimson (21-12-3)

  • Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Bruins' playoff hopes; college hockey awards; Calder race

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 1 day ago

    [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.”

    They had to know this season could have turned out like this, but man the end is shaping up to be torturous.

    5. College hockey awards

    4. Ilya Kovalchuk's return

    3. Weirdly valuable players

    2. The Calder race

  • NCAA Hockey 101: Some non-tournament housekeeping

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 2 days ago

    [Our annual big NCAA tournament preview will run later this week. For now, here's some stuff about a bunch of teams that didn't make the tournament.]

    When discussing teams that just barely missed out on the tournament the ones that come to mind quickest are, obviously, the ones that just missed out on making it.

    Typically, the “magic number” for a team to make the tournament if they came out of even a half-decent conference is 22 wins. You get to that plateau and you will typically find yourself in pretty good standing regardless of who you beat and lost to, or how you did in your conference tournament. And yet here we are, with four bubble teams having missed out; Bowling Green had 23 wins, while Colgate, Michigan, and Vermont piled up 22 each. Lowell fell just short at 21, and St. Lawrence had 20. None of it was good enough.  

    Colgate, Michigan, and Vermont are harder to explain.

    Oh well, you can all try again next year.

    Pro signings of note

    With so many teams seeing their seasons come to an end, we've also seen a lot of departures, early and otherwise. Between graduating seniors and underclassmen leaving early, we've already had a few NHL deals go through.

  • What We Learned: Why can’t Boston Bruins close deal on playoff spot?

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 3 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.)  

    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?

    Out East, though, what happens on the playoff bubble is just about anyone’s guess. Boston seems to have no ability to control which Bruins team shows up on any given night; some games they look like juggernauts, and others they go down meekly in a shootout against Florida.

    Does there seem to be any rhyme or reason to it? Sure doesn’t. Tuukka Rask can be either great or, umm, less so (though this month it’s been the former far more often), and the offense can be a buzzsaw or a pop-gun. Which makes for a nervy final nine games here.

    Bruins centers CA/60

     

    Pre-Krejci injury

    Post-Krejci injury

    Difference

    Bergeron

    46.1

    44.1

    -2.0

    Kelly

    48.2

    7.2

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

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 6 days ago

    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. 

    There was no real way to predict that he could do what he has so far — again, no one is this good — but we should have had a pretty good idea that he was going to constitute a significant upgrade over whatever other shambling disasters the Wild were putting in the crease before they acquired him. 

    MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

  • Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Dumb green jerseys, Penguins problems, Nail Yakupov

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 8 days ago

    [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 monstrosities is enough to dampen one's faith in the hockey-watching public.

    6. The Leafs

    What a mess.

    5. The Penguins

    3. GM meetings

  • Your guide to NCAA Hockey Championship Weekend

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 9 days ago

    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 that no one's good enough to be the clear favorite in their conference (save for one team).

    Atlantic Hockey

    Big Ten

    ECAC

    Hockey East

    NCHC

    WCHA

    2. Miami (beat Western in three)

  • What We Learned: Sharks should trade Doug Wilson instead

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 10 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.)

    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 hasn't said too much is this:

    Doug Wilson on the other hand? He's got a proven track record there.

    What We Learned

    Play of the Weekend

     

    Gold Star Award

  • The value of Nazem Kadri in Toronto (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 13 days ago

    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.

    In fact, over the last three years, Kadri has outperformed in much the same way: Much more goalscoring, slightly more assists, and without the benefit of easy zone starts or great llinemates. He also makes Kessel a lot better than Bozak does :

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  • Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Carey Price, declining Predators, Devan Dubnyk’s Hart

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 15 days ago

    [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. A Preds-dictable decline

    So the Nashville Predators are 3-7-1 in their last 11 games, which is not a good record to have when you used to be the best team in the league. The problem for the Preds is that their numbers never really were in line with what you saw from this team.

    For a good long while, their possession was solid, despite the fact that their roster doesn't seem like it should be able to keep up the quality. Shea Weber and Roman Josi have been better than usual and that top line was producing pretty well for a while, but the team has suffered of late not because their possession numbers are on the decline, but because the bounces have stopped going their way.

    6. RJ Umberger

    5. Women's hockey