Ryan Lambert

  • Why the power play rules all in Stanley Cup Playoffs (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 2 days ago

    As has been explored at length over the last few weeks, referees didn't exactly cover themselves in glory when it came to policing the various playoff series. The data suggests they called more penalties than in the regular season, but that certainly isn't enough for a lot of people, especially when so many games finished with so few goals.  

    So far in these playoffs, 28 of the 47 games — almost 60 percent — featured five goals or fewer, and that includes empty-netters. That's poor enough scoring numbers that it would make the average NHL executive send out another email about maybe making the nets a little bigger. The 7-4 Game 6 between Calgary and Vancouver stands as the big outlier here; only 11 games of those 47 broke seven goals total. Often, those high-scoring games were not even wild affairs, but rather blowouts in which the losing team popped in a few meaningless punches to feel good about having suffered the onslaught.

    But that's the modern game, take it or leave it.

    So instead we live in the system we live in.

    The Jets, meanwhile, the Jets had the third-worst penalty kill of any team in the playoffs (ahead of only Vancouver and St. Louis)  

  • Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Trading the Sedins, Stamkos narrative and Norris Trophy

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 3 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. Adjustments

    Every coach is obviously going to tinker with the lineup a little bit when things don't necessarily go their way. That's human nature, and in some cases it may be part of unlocking some secret into how they can beat their opponents. But going on gut alone isn't necessarily a good idea.

    Jack Capuano learned this.

    And that's not to say, “Colin McDonald blew the series,” or anything like that. McDonald did what McDonald does; he's a player whose role is defined by his limitations. But this decision isn't a good look for Capuano, nor is failing to pull his goaltender for the entirety of that lone power play opportunity.

    6. The Canucks

    Awful way to go out, really.

    5. So long, Nassau Coliseum

  • Why do St. Louis Blues fail in playoffs? It’s entirely predictable (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 4 days ago

    Ken Hitchcock is getting a lot of criticism these days.  

    Three straight first-round exits! All in just six games! What a bad job he has done!

    Now, there are some people who would argue that losing in six games to Los Angeles, Chicago and a molten Minnesota team isn't that bad. Six games is one short of seven, and that's the narrowest margin by which you can lose. But put another way, dominant opponents or not, Hitchcock's winning percentage in the playoffs is just .333 over the last three seasons, and .370 overall (factoring in the 4-1 blowout of the Sharks and 0-4 sweep at the hands of the Kings in 2011-12).

    That is, you'd have to say, a bit of a drop-off from the team's regular-season winning percentage under Hitchcock of .671.

    But I'd argue that, to some extent, this isn't really his fault.

    What the playoffs really come down to, at the end of the day, is goaltending, and the 17 postseason losses racked up over the last four years are basically attributable to that factor in St. Louis especially. Hitchcock has never received particularly good goaltending, let alone great, in his four years behind the bench there.

    MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

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

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 6 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 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 9 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 11 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 11 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.

     

    MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

  • What We Learned: Reconsidering the Edmonton Oilers’ failures

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 13 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 15 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 18 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.