If you follow Twitter while you’re watching Nashville Predators home games, you know the fanbase goes crazy when Lane Lambert is on the screen. Search for the hashtag #LaneLambertsHair and you’ll get an idea of just how popular the Preds assistant coach and his ‘do are around here.
Nobody knows for sure how Lane Lambert, owner of a fairly pedestrian short cut during his first season in Nashville, came to have such marvelous hair in such a short time. Hushed discussions in dark corners of the internet say Lambert returned in September to Switzerland, site of his 50-goal season with HC Ajoie in 1991-92, and defeated Machtspieler, the golden-coiffed god of the power play, in one-on-one combat; for his trophy he sheared the god’s mane and made it his own.
Others say that he spent the lockout building an underground salon, complete with a laboratory for researching secret hair growth compounds and top-of-the-line cosmetological androids to ensure his flow is always like whoa. No one has any proof to back up the Swiss tale, though, and the coach laughs off suggestions of a secret hair lair. So what do we actually know about Lane Lambert?
Unlike the team, I never take a day off. #flowlikewhoa
— Lane Lambert’s Hair (@TheLambertFlow) February 4, 2013
He played 18 seasons of professional hockey and traveled far and wide during that time. He played 283 games in the National Hockey League from 1983 to 1989, scoring 124 points (58G-66A) for the Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, and Quebec Nordiques. After that Lambert spent time on the Canadian national team, in the Swiss B-League, and with two clubs in the old International Hockey League before hanging up his skates for good in 2001. Legends of Hockey describes him as “a good passer who could play abrasively while assaulting the opposition’s goal.”
After retiring as a player he became a coach. He spent one season in the AHL as an assistant with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and three seasons in the Western Hockey League, one as an assistant with the Moose Jaw Warriors and three as head coach of the Prince George Cougars.
In 2006 he joined the Milwaukee Admirals as an assistant coach; he was named head coach for the 2007-08 season. Four years as there saw Lane Lambert and the team win 178 games and two division titles. When Nashville assistant coach Brent Peterson had to step down due to his health issues, the team invited Lambert to join some of his former players in Music City prior to the 2011-12 season.
He made an instant impact. In 2010-11 the Preds were 26th in the NHL on the power play, scoring just 15.2 percent of the time. In the span of just one season Lambert turned Nashville into the league’s top power play team, scoring at a 21.6 percent rate for the year. It was a huge turnaround for a franchise that had never converted power plays at better than 18.4 percent for an entire season and, in fact, often finished toward the bottom of the league with the man advantage.
So far Lane Lambert has enjoyed success with the Predators in his assistant’s role – and in keeping Nashville fans entertained during the team’s game broadcasts. Barry Trotz told Lambert he wants him to be “the guy to replace me.” If that ends up being the case, we will be able to look forward to an excellent Nashville power play – and excellent hair - for a long time to come.