Craig Ramsay, seen here as an assistant coach in Tampa back in 2006, is expected to be named head coach of the Atlanta Thrashers.

Thrashers Officially Name Craig Ramsay Head Coach

After firing John Anderson in mid-April, the Atlanta Thrashers have named a new head coach just a day prior to the NHL Draft. His name is Craig Ramsay, and was introduced by the club on Thursday. Read more at Bird Watchers Anonymous and SB Nation Atlanta.

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Thrashers Name Craig Ramsay Head Coach

As expected, the Atlanta Thrashers named Craig Ramsay the fifth head coach in team history on Thursday afternoon. Here's the press release from the team:

The Atlanta Thrashers have named Craig Ramsay the fifth head coach in franchise history, according to General Manager Rick Dudley.
 
Ramsay, 59, has nearly 40 years of NHL experience as a player, coach and talent evaluator in six different NHL organizations including the Buffalo Sabres, Florida Panthers, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins.
 
 “Craig is very well-respected in the hockey community and we’re excited to add a coach of his caliber to our organization” said Dudley. “He is widely regarded as an excellent teacher and he is the right choice to help further develop our team and lead us to our ultimate goal.”
 
Most recently Ramsay served as an assistant coach for the Bruins from 2007 to 2010. While in Boston, Ramsay helped the Bruins reach the post-season each year, while capturing the Eastern Conference’s best record during the 2008-09 season. The Bruins advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in both 2009 and 2010.

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Reports: Thrashers To Name Ramsay Coach On Thursday

Various sources are reporting this morning that the Atlanta Thrashers will name Craig Ramsay their head coach at a Thursday afternoon press conference. Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is one of those sources.

Thrashers will make coaching announcement official later today.around 9:30 AM ET, Jun 24 via TweetDeck

 

As we wrote late Wednesday, Ramsay is currently with the Boston Bruins as their assistant coach. He runs their penalty kill, which played a vital role in their success last season, especially in the playoffs. Ramsay hasn't had a head coaching gig since 2000-01 when he was let go by the Philadelphia Flyers just 20-something games into the season.

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Ramsay Hiring Would Show Thrashers Commitment To Defense

From our Thrashers blog, Bird Watchers Anonymous:

I'll have more to stay about the hiring when it becomes more certain, but selecting Ramsey would certainly be a strong signal that the Thrashers intend to get better at playing defense. Ramsey was a left wing who won the Selke Trophy given to the best defensive forward. He was also known as a terrific shot blocker. A coach like Ramsey could greatly improve the Thrashers zone coverage and commitment to taking away passing lanes. He might also be able to help a young Zach Bogosian improve on his defensive reads.

The pending big trade with the Blackhawks will move the Thrashers in the direction of getting bigger and tougher. The hiring of Craig Ramsey would signal a greater commitment to team defense. In the history of the franchise the Thrashers have finished in the bottom half of the NHL in defense every single year. The Rick Dudley version of the Thrashers might just have a shot at breaking that streak if they can add another quality goalie to pair with Pavelec.

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Report: Thrashers Set To Name Craig Ramsay Head Coach

Just hours after the news that the Atlanta Thrashers could name their next head coach before this weekend's NHL draft, we learn just who that coach may be. Craig Ramsay, current Bruins assistant coach, will be named to the Thrashers head position, according to James Duthie of TSN.

Craig Ramsey to be named head coach in Atlantaabout 11 PM ET, Jun 23 via UberTwitter

 

The news was also verified by Chris Vivlamore, Thrashers beat writer at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Vivlamore says the announcement could come as early as Thursday.

Ramsay has been an assistant coach in the NHL for 15 years, spending the last three of those with the Boston Bruins. One two instances, in 1986-87 and 2001-02, he got his chance to be the head boss behind an NHL bench. In '86 he took over the Buffalo Sabres on an interim basis, going 25-37 while missing the playoffs. He wasn't brought back.

Ramsay took over the Philadelphia Flyers in 2000 after Roger Neilson was diagnosed with cancer. He led them to the Eastern Conference Finals and was brought back on a permanent basis the next season, but after an underwhelming start, Bill Barber replaced Ramsay. The rationale for firing Ramsay after just a handful of games? He was too easygoing behind the bench.

For more reaction, check out the newly-launched SB Nation Atlanta, and of course our Thrashers blog, Bird Watchers Anonymous.

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Coming Soon: Thrashers Could Announce New Head Coach Before Friday

After the excitement (or disappointment, perhaps) of their blockbuster trade with the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday, there could be more news on the horizon for the Atlanta Thrashers.

As reported by team beatwriter Chris Vivlamore...

Don't be surprised if the Thrashers name a head coach before Friday's draft.about 7 PM ET, Jun 23 via TweetDeck

 

We don't know who it will be, but for the thoughts of Thrashers fans, be sure to check Bird Watchers Anonymous.

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Torchetti, Stevens, Ramsay? Who'll Be The New Coach In Atlanta?

New Atlanta Thrashers general manager Rick Dudley has a lot to handle in his new capacity, obviously. One of those new responsibilities is hiring a new head coach, after John Anderson was fired in the same maneuvering that hoisted Ramsay to the GM position on Wednesday morning.

So who could be the new coach in Atlanta? According to Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, it could be current Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach John Torchetti.

Next up Dudley will hire a coach. The top contender in my opinion is Blackhawks assistant coach John Torchetti, who was brought into Tampa Bay, Florida and Chicago because of Dudley and played for Dudley on the old ACHL Carolina Thunderbirds. Torchetti was nearly hired a few times by the old Wild regime to coach Houston. He's a former interim head coach of the Panthers and Kings.

Russo also believes that current Bruins assistant coach Craig Ramsay is in the hunt.

When Dudley managed Florida, Dudley fired Mike Keenan and took over behind the bench. But he tried incessantly to get Jay Feaster and the Lightning to let Ramsay come across Alligator Alley to coach the Panthers. Feaster wouldn't allow that (division rival, in the middle of the year -- were the obvious reasons), so Dudley replaced himself with Torchetti (coincidentally, that story broke while I was here in Minneapolis for the All-Star Game -- I edited pretentious clause, ha).

Of course, for either of those deals to go through, the Bruins or the Blackhawks would first have to be eliminated from the postseason. As of now, both teams have yet to play a game in the playoffs. There's no indication that the Thrashers are in a hurry to get a coach in place, but if they are, Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly.com believes former Philadelphia Flyers coach John Stevens could be available.

What about John Stevens?

“I have not received a call [from Atlanta], but I would recommend him,” Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said before Game 1 of the Flyers-Devils playoff series.

In a major coup within the Thrashers, general manager Don Waddell was moved upstairs to club president while associate GM Rick Dudley inherited his job. Dudley’s first move was to fire head coach John Anderson.

Stevens told CSNPhilly.com via a text message that he has not been contacted by the Thrashers. Obviously, he would have an interest.

Given the young nature of the Thrashers’ roster and Stevens’ prior success both here at the NHL level and AHL level with young teams, the Thrashers would seem an idea club to interview him.

Stevens won a Calder Cup championship with the Philadelphia Phantoms in 2005, actually beating Anderson's Chicago Wolves in the finals that year. He was brought up to the NHL level after proving that he could work with the Flyers' young stars, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.

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Atlanta Thrashers Fire Head Coach John Anderson, Appoint Don Waddell As Team President

The Atlanta Thrashers did some extensive cleaning on Wednesday, firing head coach John Anderson and selecting Rick Dudley as the new general manager to replace Don Waddell, who will now be team president. The entire coaching staff leaves along with Anderson. 

Tim from SBN's Thrashers blog, Bird Watchers Anonymous, is surprised by that.

But not only is John Anderson out, the entire coaching staff is gone: Steve Weeks, Todd Nelson, Randy Cunneyworth.

I'm somewhat shocked by this, as I considered Cunney to be a contender for the next coaching gig here. That may still be the case, but for the moment, it looks like everybody is out.

Atlanta started the season with promise, but fell into old -- re: losing -- habits again. A four-win-in-15-game December was the largest cause of their demise, and that was with Ilya Kovalchuk. Shortly after narrowly missing the postseason, veteran Vyacheslav Kozlov criticized Anderson's coaching style.

"To me, this was the best team in 11 years of the organization," Kozlov said on Sunday. "This franchise had the best players. Right now, they can not blame [Ilya] Kovalchuk or [Slava] Kozlov. They have to take responsibility, because I think ownership did everything right, signed good players, they have a good goalie, good defense -- but something is missing. I think we are missing from the coaching staff. Looks like they have fun, but unfortunately in the NHL you have to work. You have to prepare for every game.

"There are lots of good teams in the NHL and you think you are a good team if you see the roster. That doesn't work in this league. You have to do homework and work hard. I think I can put a big question mark that they weren't preparing."

 Anderson responded on Tuesday with this:

"He played on every power play right up until January. It wasn't just him. I sat out [Todd] White. I sat out [Bryan] Little. Everybody wants to be coach, but no one wants to make the crappy decisions. I said when I [first scratched Kozlov], this was the hardest thing I've ever had to do as a coach, is to sit a player of his stature. But I had to think of what was best for the team at that time. Maybe I'm wrong. I just want you to know I did it with a heavy heart."

As president, Waddell will shift his attention to the business aspects of a team that's ranked near the bottom in average attendance. Since their inclusion into the league in 1999, the Thrashers have had three winning seasons, earned one playoff berth and have yet to win a playoff game.

Change was inevitable, but are the Atlanta Thrashers going to be better for it?

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