Archive for June, 2010

Hedberg not excited about Thrashers’ offer

I just spoke Johan Hedberg as part of my preparation for the start of free agency on July 1.

The Thrashers goaltender, scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in two days, categorized the on-going contract negotiations with the team. “I have not been excited about what they have offered. I hope they make another offer before July 1,” Hedberg said from Sweden.

Trying to keep you updated.

Continue reading Hedberg not excited about Thrashers’ offer »

A little leftover Ramsay

I just finished my profile on new Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay. Look for that online in a little while.

It’s amazing how much stuff you can’t fit in a story after you have sat down with a hockey lifer and talked for a half hour. I thought I would share this story on how Ramsay described getting called up to the NHL. He was drafted in the second round in 1971 (19th overall) and spent 19 games playing for Cincinnati.

Here’s the story in his words:

“I was very lucky. My last adventure in the American Hockey league we were flying out of Cleveland, I think. We tried to get up over the water. Someone yelled ‘Oh my gosh.’ One of the engines had to be shut down and we limped into someplace, maybe Pittsburgh. They set it down and we got a bus. Joe Crozier borrowed money off players because the bus driver wanted cash to drive us to Baltimore. We got to Baltimore at six in the morning and went to the rink that night.

“Joe Crozier said ‘Kid, play good tonight and I’m sending you to …

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Updated: Free agent – UFA and RFA – news of the day

A little crazy here folks as I write this from the Turner Field press box. I have to do a story from the Braves game tonight.

However, first I had one-on-one sit downs with new coach Craig Ramsay and GM Rick Dudley. I will have a story on Ramsay later today and then a bigger profile on Tuesday. I also sat down with Dudley to discuss the free-agent news. I’ll have a story previewing July 1 coming up.

Here’s the updates:

As at tweeted earlier (from my cellphone), the Thrashers made qualifying offers to Niclas Bergfors, Bryan Little, Ondrej Pavelec, Clarke MacArthur, Ben Eager, Peter Mannino and Anthony Stewart. The following players were not qualified: Chad Denny, Rylan Kaip, Scott Lehman and Matt Siddall.

Dudley and I went over each player that will become a restricted free agent on July 1. Here is what he told me.

Pavel Kubina: “We’ve talked to Pavel. I’ve got to talk to him today. He’s talked to [Don Waddell] a couple of times. We are a little ways apart. Ramsay did say he …

Continue reading Updated: Free agent – UFA and RFA – news of the day »

Updated: Thrashers select Burmistrov

With the No. 8 overall pick, the Thrashers selected Alexander Burmistrov.

I wanted to get this up, so you folks can talk about it. I will update after talking to GM and selection.

UPDATE: Dudley was really good talking about Burmistrov. Here’s the transcript of our quick phone interview:

“We look for three things in our players – character, intellect or hockey sense and speed. He’s got all three. He probably ranks a nine (out of 10) in all three of those categories. He’s probably the smartest player in the draft. If he’s not the smartest he’s one of the two or three smartest in the draft. He has wonderful skills.”

“He played on an extremely good team in Canada and became a speed guy very quickly there. He took most, if not all, of the defensive zone draws. In any kind of critical game or situation, he was the guy that was out there defensively. He’s also a great offensive player. There is so much to like about this player. We’ve liked him from the start of …

Continue reading Updated: Thrashers select Burmistrov »

Ramsay wants up-tempo team

After talking to new Thrashers head coach Craig Ramsay, I can tell you that he wants to play an aggressive forechecking, up-tempo style. Look for defenseman to join to rush in an effort to create four-man rushes.

Here are some of the highlights from today’s conference call:

“We want the defensemen to join as many rushes as they can,” Ramsay said. “We want to create four-man rushes as much as possible. I think we can do it with the personnel that we have. … We want to be aggressive and as up-tempo as we can.”

“I’m even-tempered. I think it’s important to keep your temper. There are times to get in guy’s faces but a steady diet of that is not a good thing.”

“We have players in place that can play the up-tempo game I like to play.”

“If we can go into camp with a different attitude that we expect to win, we can’t just hope to survive.”

Here are some quotes from others:

Ron Hainsey: “It’s good to have a guy in place. I know Duds has a long relationship …

Continue reading Ramsay wants up-tempo team »

Updated II: Ramsay the next coach, deals done

NOTE: SINCE I POSTED THIS FINAL VERSION WITH TONS OF NEWS AFTER 2 A.M., I’M GOING TO LEAVE THIS BLOG UP TODAY FOR ALL THOSE WHO WANT TO COMMENT ON THE BIG DAY. I WILL POST NEW BLOG AFTER TALKING TO RAMSAY.

The Thrashers will officially name Craig Ramsay as the francishe’s fifth head coach on Thursday. The announcement will come later this afternoon. The 59-year-old Ramsay has served as assistant coach with the Boston Bruins the past three seasons.

In a conference call to discuss the two trades the Thrashers made early Thursday morning, general manager Rick Dudley said he “won’t tip our hand” about the new coach. However, he did acknowledge that he has spoken to Ramsay “quite a bit.” He said the two had coffee in Los Angeles on Wednesday morning and Ramsay had dinner with team president Don Waddell Wednesday night.

There is a report from TSN that John Torchetti, the Chicago Blackhawks assistant who was the other leading candidate for the head coach job, would join the Thrashers …

Continue reading Updated II: Ramsay the next coach, deals done »

Updated: The schedule is out: Thrashers open with Caps

SEE COACHING SEARCH UPDATE BELOW

As we reported Monday, the Thrashers will open the 2010-11 schedule at home against the Capitals on Friday, Oct. 8, then play at Tampa Bay on Saturday at Oct. 9 and follow with a three-game west coast trip.

The NHL released the full schedule on Tuesday. Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks at Philips Arena on Saturday, Nov. 6.

Here it is:

2010-11 NHL REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE

(Home games in all caps.  All times are Eastern Standard)

DAY        DATE         OPPONENT                                 TIME (ET)

Fri.          Oct. 8          WASHINGTON………………………… 7:30 p.m.

Sat.          Oct. 9          @ Tampa Bay……………………………. 7:30 p.m.

Tues.       Oct. 12        @ Los Angeles…………………………. 10:30 p.m.

Fri.          Oct. 15        @ Anaheim…………………………………… 10 p.m.

Sat.          Oct. 16        @ San …

Continue reading Updated: The schedule is out: Thrashers open with Caps »

Updated: Dudley speaks to Torchetti about head coaching position

SEE SCHEDULE UPDATE BELOW

Thrashers general manager has met with Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach John Torchetti to discuss the team’s vacant head coach position.

Torchetti is considered one of two leading candidates for the position, along with Boston Bruins assistant Craig Ramsay. Torchetti is the fourth person Dudley has spoken to about the job – along with Scott Arniel (Columbus), Don Lever and Ramsay.

My understanding is that a hire is not imminent as Dudley is preparing for the NHL draft and will soon leave for Los Angeles, where the draft will be held Friday and Saturday.

I’m preparing some stories for the upcoming NHL draft and, as promised, said would share some more excerpts from my wide-ranging interview with Dudley last week.

Here is what he said about some of the young players in the organization that might not be so far away from the NHL.

“We love people like [Carl] Klingberg and [Jeremy] Morin — within the next couple of years,” Dudley said. “Morin …

Continue reading Updated: Dudley speaks to Torchetti about head coaching position »

Dudley reshaping Thrashers’ scouting

I have some leftover items from my interview with GM Rick Dudley last week for the Offseason Update Story that I wrote. It’s already posted online and will run in the Sunday paper.

I thought I would share one today so we have a blog posted through the weekend. Covering the Braves on Saturday and will spend Father’s Day with the family.

Dudley shared his philosophy for scouting players and spoke about how he has tweaked the way the scouting department files player reports. Here is what he said:

“We have three criteria we go for and it’s pretty easy. We have character, we have hockey sense and we have speed. There was a time when size was an equal component. It’s no longer quite the same component.

“We break those out into, 12 or 14 categories that we identify from game to game. If you look at them, between pro and amateur, if you get a consistent number from scouts that watch a player then you can pretty much target that this guys is one heck of a good skater. You can …

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Thrashers preseason schedule

The Thrashers will play a six-game preseason schedule before the start of the 2010-11 season.

The schedule consists of home and away games against Columbus, Carolina and Nashville.

The NHL will release next season’s regular-season schedule on Tuesday.

Preseason schedule

*Tuesday, Sept. 21 vs. Columbus, 7 p.m.

*Saturday, Sept. 25 vs. Carolina, 7 p.m.

*Monday, Sept. 27 at Nashville, TBD

*Wednesday, Sept. 29 vs. Nashville, 7 p.m.

*Friday, Oct. 1 at Carolina, 1:30 p.m.

*Sunday, Oct. 3 at Columbus, 6 p.m.

Continue reading Thrashers preseason schedule »