Ryan Lambert

  • What We Learned: How bad is NHL officiating in Stanley Cup Playoffs?

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 12 hrs 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 big complaint about these playoffs is that a lot of penalties are going uncalled, and how much that's affecting play.

    Anecdotally, this is happening a lot. Guys get taken out of the play, or even slowed up, by a hook or obstruction in the neutral zone, and what should have been a 3-on-2 that might have resulted in a scoring chance all of a sudden becomes a 2-on-2 that very much doesn't.

    Now, what isn't mentioned when people complain about this stuff is that this is part of a larger trend that's been going on for a while now.

    So it's fair to say that refs are letting a lot go to begin with. And as a result, the number of power play goals scored per team per game has slowly slumped as well (the blue line below), while there has been next to no change in teams' ability to score on power plays (the green line is league-wide power play percentage).

    Unless, of course, it benefits their teams.

    What We Learned

    Play of the Weekend

     

  • How bad are Corey Crawford's playoff problems? (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 3 days ago

    On Sunday, Corey Crawford had the ignominious job of sitting there with a cap on and maybe sometimes opening the door for his teammates, while a relative unknown got the start and the win for Chicago to push the team to a 2-1 series lead over Nashville. Then he had it again Tuesday. Then last night as well.

    Not an ideal turn of events, to be sure, but one you might have seen coming for a while here.

    This is very much Joel Quenneville making a decision based on recent play, but rather than going with the “hot hand” as they say, he's simply going with the not-cold one. And look, he's been 100 percent awful in the two games he started, allowing nine goals on 47 shots (.809) which is and should be good enough for a coach of Quenneville's quality to go to the bullpen.

    Here is a chart of his regular-season save percentage versus the approximate league average over the course of his career.

     

    That looks to me like a pretty good goaltender who had a rough go of things a few years ago but has mostly spent the majority of his career well above water. Chicago may be good and everything, but for me in the regular season he's in a tier not too far below the league's best.

  • Puck Daddy Power Rankings: NHL Player Safety, selling ice cream, Mike Babcock

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 5 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.]  

    5. So we're just not suspending anyone, huh?

    So far in these playoffs, there have been about 100 suspension-worthy incidents (rough estimate). Incidents that, if they'd happened in the regular season, would have resulted in multi-game bans for the perpetrators, who would have earned every ounce of the discipline.

    Instead, the NHL's Department of Player Safety seems to have taken the postseason off, presumably after hanging a “Gone Fishin'” sign on Stephane Quintal's still-spinning desk chair.

    Johnny Gaudreau might want to try lighting his stick on fire for the rest of this series and using it as a weapon, because the playoffs are Thunderdome. Just about anything goes.

    4. Selling ice cream

    2. Trophy season

  • NCAA Hockey 101: Jack Eichel as 'consolation prize'

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 6 days ago

    The Buffalo Sabres lost the draft lottery on Saturday and to the extent that they only ever had a 20-percent chance of winning it, general manager Tim Murray was mega-bummed to settle for second place.

    He was so disconsolate about not getting Connor McDavid that his exit interviews at the lottery came with the deadened intonation of a hostage reading a list of demands.

    “I'm disappointed for our fans,” he said of the people who cheered for his team to lose games down the stretch. Later, when it probably dawned on him that he was, ahem, settling for Jack Eichel, he also added “We're happy with second; two franchise-changing guys in this draft.”

    By this measure, we arrive at these NHLe numbers:

    Not that the hypotheticals matter.

    Rats.

     

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  • What We Learned: Reconsidering the Edmonton Oilers’ failures

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 7 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.)

    There are a great many things for which the Edmonton Oilers can, are, and should be criticized over the last decade. A great many things.

    But when they won the draft lottery on Saturday night, the immediate reaction among many hockey fans and pundits alike was to trash them for picking first overall for the fourth time in six years.

    “It's rewarding failure,” and so on, as though this isn't what the draft order being predicated upon reverse order of finish isn't the same exact thing.

    “They don't deserve another first pick,” and so on, as though the Penguins getting the Nos. 5, 1, 2, 1, and 2 again in four straight draft years was in some way fine and dandy while this is not.

    Looking at it individually, in fact, it becomes clear that the Oilers couldn't really have expected to do a lot better than they have when drafting first overall.

    Minnesota Wild : Love any goal scored with a broken stick.

    Play of the Weekend

    This Crosby kid is okay.

  • Bruins fire Chiarelli to bring in another, more pliable Chiarelli (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 10 days ago

    Look, I get it.

    The Bruins missed the playoffs, and based on team CEO Charlie Jacobs's threats earlier this season, someone had to pay the price. Peter Chiarelli put together the team, so it was him. Claude Julien also coached the team, and so when the new GM is hired, it might be him as well.

    And it probably will be.

    Because what the team's failure this season — the first in eight years without playoffs in Boston — really did was allow team president Cam Neely to seize just a little more power for himself. And he did it ruthlessly.

    Put another way, Chiarelli mismanaged the cap — on purpose for the 2013-14 season, mind you — and simultaneously tore down part of what made those Bruins teams of 2011 and 2013 so dangerous: If your club features Tyler Seguin on the third line, you are deep to a ludicrous extent. Now, this is the hockey equivalent of a first-world problem (“We have so many good players we can't pay them all!”) and that was understood in Boston. But missing the playoffs with a cap-limit team was always going to be unacceptable, even if it was foreseeable for all the reasons listed above.

    That ended pretty well for all aboard the Pequod, right?

  • Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Scoring isn’t down, Corsi isn’t dead

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 12 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. “Scoring is down boo hoo hoo”

    The NHL's league leader in points this season had 87 points and this is apparently the worst thing that ever happened to anyone in league history.

    Look, the average number of goals scored in NHL games this season was 5.46, which is obviously only about 2.73 per team per game. And that's not a lot. But what it is, is it's in line with the levels seen in each of the last four seasons (2.74 per team per game, 2.72, 2.73). So why all the grumbling this year? Well, obviously the fact that Benn won the scoring title without breaking 90 points. It was the lowest total for a non-lockout season since 1967-68, when Stan Mikita led the league with 87, but they only played 72 back then.

  • What We Learned: How to fix the Boston Bruins, LA Kings

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 14 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.

    Over the last five seasons, the team that has had the puck more than any other — 54.8 percent of the time, in fact — is the Los Angeles Kings. In fourth place — at 52.7 percent — is the Boston Bruins.

    Neither made the playoffs this year.

    One thing this certainly does not present is any sort of reason to think that possession stats are in any way not predictive, not worth tracking, etc. Yes, we acknowledge that results in the NHL predicated heavily upon luck (some 40 percent of point totals over the season come via things you can't control) but by my count that still leaves 60 percent of results which are based upon repeatable skills like possession.

    Which team is considered the young up-and-coming club in the league again?

    As for the Bruins, though, the “what to do?” answers are less clear.

    What We Learned

    Toronto Maple Leafs: How was your weekend, Leafs fans?

  • NCAA Frozen Four Notebook: O'Connor's gaffe; Leaman the builder

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 15 days ago

    BOSTON -- Poor Matt O'Connor had to sit there and explain to everyone about how he'd just run over his own dog.

    “I definitely just thought I tried to roll it out of my glove, so I dropped down on my knees, and I guess it got my pad and trickled through,” he said. “So, [poop] happens.”

    This was an all-time legendary gaffe at the worst possible time for the BU netminder, who also happens to be the nation's most sought-after college free agent. And there's a good reason for that: He's a size-y, quality college goaltender. 

    People will be talking about Matt O'Connor putting it into his own net for years. It was certainly a surprise that it happened at that stage in the game — with BU up 3-2 midway through the third period — but the thing is, though, that this is a goalie who had always had difficulties handling the puck, and had a bit of a penchant for gaffes in the last month or so. In the NCAA tournament alone this year, he gave up a long shot off his glove and in against Minnesota Duluth, lost a puck in his skates that got tapped into an empty net against North Dakota, and conceded this baffler against Providence.

    Only kinda how they drew it up

  • NCAA Frozen Four: Not much separating BU, Providence ahead of national title game

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 16 days ago

    BOSTON -- Providence College and Boston University have met twice this season, but to use those two contests — which the teams split — as any sort of roadmap for predicting the outcome of Saturday night’s national championship (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN/TSN2) is probably folly.

    The fact of the matter is that those two games were played on Halloween and All Saints' Day, after which point BU was 4-1-0, and Providence 2-3-1. Needless to say, the two teams have come an awful long way since then.

    Providence, right around that time, was just starting to come out of a dismal start to the season that's evidenced by the record but also backed up by goals-for, goals-against, and possession numbers basically across the board. The Friars were actually picked to be the No. 1 team in Hockey East this season, and finished one spot back of that because no one seemed to anticipate just how much of a positive impact Jack Eichel would have for the Terriers. BU finished with just 10 wins last season. The W they picked up at home against Merrimack on Dec. 6 matched that number, and they've added 18 since, while suffering just four more losses and two more draws.

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