Ramsay holds individual meetings with players following bad loss

The Thrashers did not have an on-ice workout Monday. In the team’s first day back after Saturday’s 8-2 loss to the Sabres, I spoke coach Craig Ramsay about the game and what’s next. Here is a complete transcript from the interview.

Q. Did the day off Sunday change your take on what happened on Saturday?

A. I think I have a little better perspective on it. It’s still very difficult to understand. To give up a goal in (24) seconds happens. It certainly isn’t right. It’s not a way to start a big game, but we got it back. Here we have a chance. After that, we took silly penalties. We didn’t compete at the top of our game which was really a shock. We have 10 games left to compete at the top of our game each and every night. That’s what we are trying to get through here today. To make sure they understand whatever has happened is gone. It’s over. Our job is to compete like a team, look like a team, act like a team for the last 10 games.

Q. Are you speaking to the team individually?

A. Yes sir.

Q. How to you not let such a loss fester? With the NHL schedule you normally have a day or two between games. After this particularly bad loss you have five days before you play the Islanders Thursday.

A. That can make it much more difficult. As a coach you want to perhaps go out and skate them until perhaps they fall down. Or show video that is truly embarrassing. What I’ve tried to do is give them a good hard off-ice workout so I wasn’t involved. We are having an individual meeting that is short. I want them to understand that their accountability is to themselves and to their teammates. Not just to me as a coach or the coaching staff. They have to hold themselves to a higher standard. That has to come from them. You can point them in the right direction but at the end of the day it has to be a standard, a very high standard, that’s within the dressing room.

Q. You were very candid after that loss with some pretty harsh words, were you trying to deliver a message or are you just speaking from the heart afterward? What do you hope is the impact of those words?

A. You have to be very careful after a game and you say things you don’t mean so I try not to. Certainly for me to go into Buffalo at this time of year with a score like that is pretty disheartening. But, it’s also something that you can build on. It’s something that you can use. It’s something that can be part of the growth of you as a person and you as a team. That you can take something that is a big negative and use it and understand it and grow with it. You can turn it into a positive.

Q. Do you get a sense that the players are angry?

A. I think they are embarrassed. In the short meetings we’ve had I think they understand what happened and understand that you can’t allow that to happen. But it’s vital for them to realize that it has to be eliminated inside the dressing room. It has to be eliminated by individuals. You can’t think that’s OK. We as a team must go out and attack and be the best team each and every night that we possibly can. That is only accomplished when you are the best player that you can be. Every player has an off night but you can’t have most of your players have an off night. That’s where you look for leadership in the dressing room. This guy is a leader, that guy is a leader, but we are the followers. On any given night it should be a different person stepping up to the plate. Some step up more often and have more ability but everybody can do it on a given night. Everybody who plays in the National Hockey League can be a leader, can be the best player on a given night. Then it’s up to the rest to tag along and go. When they scored the early go and we tied it, we should have said ‘OK, let’s go.’ We just allowed things to slip. We did things that we know better.

Q. It was 1-1 and you take that penalty which looked like a lack of compete penalty and it went down hill from there. The way you played the game and the way you look at the game how to you address that?

A. We are trying to address that particular issue today, my way, to reinforce to them that we didn’t lose because our X’s and O’s weren’t correct. We lost because we decided that it was OK. It’s not OK. We have to be stronger mentally. We have to be more committed mentally. And we have to be physically willing to put our bodies on the line. They had a couple of long-shot goals that went in because we didn’t block them. They weren’t overpowering shots. We weren’t willing to step in front of them and make that big block. We allowed some people to outwork us down around the net. These are the kinds of things that shouldn’t be acceptable here. It has to be not just unacceptable from my level but unacceptable in their room. That’s part of the growth that we are trying to accomplish here.

Q. Is that an issue with your captain and/or your alternates?

A. With everyone. Everyone is involved in leadership. Leadership has to come from everybody. It isn’t just from one single person. You don’t look at a game and say ‘This guy did this’ or ‘This guy cost us the game.’ Everybody was involved. Everybody has to take charge of it. It’s up to each player who plays to be the best player he can be.

39 comments Add your comment


March 21st, 2011
12:41 pm

Just sad. Until they figure out that being the team that gives up the most goals in the conference is not good, the playoffs is a pipe dream and a waste of time to talk about or report on. Each year the same story with this embarrassment of a team.

Jeremy H

March 21st, 2011
12:47 pm

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where the problems lie, with this squad.

Is it inexperience?
Isn’t that what Hainsey, Antropov, and even Dvorak are supposed to bring?

Is it understanding how to win?
I thought Ladd, Byfuglien & co were supposed to take care of that.

Is it management + coaching?
That got completely overhauled in the offseason…

Not sure where to go, other than to be completely disappointed in what – even for a moment – seemed like a squad with lots of potential.

Here’s to next year (again).


March 21st, 2011
12:54 pm

Sad? Nah, just typical. Golfer Peter Jacobson told a story about playing golf once with Huey Lewis of Huey Lewis & the News, and he said Lewis wasn’t playing well and got mad about it. Jacobson told him, “Huey, you’re not GOOD enough to get mad.”

Well, the Thrashers aren’t good enough to get mad — or sad — about. They don’t have much talent, don’t have any discernible leaders, don’t have any commitment to defense, don’t appear to have any pride and have a coach who looks more like a hand-wringer than a leader of men.

In the parlance of old Southern ladies, the Thrashers have the vapors. Give ‘em a hanky.


March 21st, 2011
12:55 pm

**to Jeremy**
We have untalented players and inexrerience Head Coach.
Atlanta has to rebuild a team again, but Managment MUST have money.


March 21st, 2011
12:58 pm

Coach had to meet individualy after middle of February to fixed a situation. It is very late for now.


March 21st, 2011
1:01 pm

I feel sorry for Thrasher fans. The management checked out a long time ago, the team doesn’t care and the coach/GM and other ‘hockey’ people in the organization don’t have a clue. I’m sitting here holding some tickets with a face value of $198 each and another pair at $70 each. Just how hard will it be to sell these type of tickets next year? I think the Thrashers will be here at least another year as Bettman will do everything he can, including using the NHL’s money, to keep these sunbelt teams from relocating. With dedicated management, an arena in a decent location and a roster with at least a few players qualified to play on an NHL second line, things might be different. But, that’s asking a lot. I watched both of Nashville’s games over the weekend. Good, entertaining hockey from a team in a small market that’s fighting for a play off spot.

Wayne stuck in AL

March 21st, 2011
1:10 pm

Agree 100% with thrashered. I saw both of Nashville’s games on tape-delay this weekend…Atlanta and Nashville, in terms of players, coaching, marketing, and arena-atmosphere are 180° apart.

Shawn L

March 21st, 2011
1:13 pm

This team needs time. Anyone expecting a playoff spot after our injuries this year is naive. Dudley will continue to build and change key pieces in a smart manner until we are playoff caliber. As good as alot of our players our we are not far from success. Next year will be here soon [Right after the Braves playoff run infact ;) ] and I can not wait to follow the rest of the games this year and next. Go Thrash!


March 21st, 2011
1:15 pm

Where’s Brooke Alvarez and Jane Carmichael, when you need them?! The Onion News Network should be all over this story.


March 21st, 2011
1:17 pm

Russian- RIGHT ON MAN! We do have a core of talented, young players who got absolutely no direction or motivation from a CLUELESS COACH. Why in the world wasn’t he meeting individually with players all season long? Certainly in early Jan. when we started to skid. It took too long for Buff and Ladd to have to go to him and suggest that he kick people in the butt. The guy was cryogenically sealed years ago and is in a cocoon.

Chris Vivlamore

March 21st, 2011
1:37 pm

Jimbo: Not sure I would make the assumption that Ramsay has not met with players all season long. I know he has. In this instance, it just comes with each player on one day the first day back after a bad loss.


March 21st, 2011
1:52 pm

I hope he met Bogosian in the boxing ring and kicked his a$$. I haven’t seen someone so turned around and disoriented since Greg DeVries shuffled around behind the net.

Answer this question…would be better or worse if Boris had played for Zach all season? Sadly I have to pause to think about it…

Michael B. Shapiro

March 21st, 2011
1:56 pm

Shawn L has hit on part of the problem. Injuries. I’m not apologizing for them, and we’ve all noted that the timing of Slates’ injuries coincided with the team’s fall off a cliff. But what that points out (in addition to Jimmy being heart and soul of the team) is that we have NO DEPTH. Chicago has been a wasteland for us this year. Perhaps that reflects on D-Wad’s failure in the draft in years past?

I also agree that Coach has failed. The slide lasted far too long. Heck Hartley lost his job after only 8 games one season. Coach allowed the slide to go on for 30 games, and the gutless play this past weekend indicates that he’s not yet regained (if he ever will) control of the locker room.

Sigh. If the wife keeps up her legitimate complaints it might be watching ON CenterIce next season instead of seats AT center ice that I’ve had for 11 (luckless) seasons.

Hoof Arted

March 21st, 2011
2:48 pm

Michal B. Shapiro, actually it only took 6 games to fire Hartley. But your point still remains valid. This slide has lasted far too long.

2 regulation wins in the last 2+ months is enough to get most coaches fired.


March 21st, 2011
3:02 pm

Hello, I am a season ticket holder for the Coyotes, just wanted to see if there where any crybabies from Winnipeg on your website complaining about the lack of fans at your arena and how they hope Atlanta will move to winnipeg. We have probably 20 of them on azcentral.com crying about how the jets left 15 years ago and how they are moving back next year. Silly dumb people in Winnipeg cant get it through their heads that the NHL will do anything before they move a team back there. As for you fans saying your team sucks, relax, our team has stunk for 5 years and we are finally getting better and will hopefully make a good run in the playoffs.


March 21st, 2011
3:49 pm

Chris V. You are correct, he well may have been meeting with them individually but that certainly underscores his inability to either motivate or get a changed message through. I’m still blown away by his comments a month or so ago that he was going to open up the offense as every other team was tightening up, heading down the stretch. Look at what this “brilliant strategy” has produced.


March 21st, 2011
4:06 pm

NHLNUT – We’ve had more than our share of W-Peg trolls although it sounds like you’ve had it worse. We’ve also had some decent W-peggers post also.

Riddle me this

March 21st, 2011
4:30 pm

Day late and a doll-a short

It Has To Get Better...

March 21st, 2011
4:37 pm

….as a fan, it can’t get much worse.

Riddle me this

March 21st, 2011
4:39 pm

I which someone (a coach) would explain the strategy to me. I don’t get what we are trying to do now.


March 21st, 2011
5:03 pm

Russian speaks the whole hearted truth. The biggest problem is the ownershipship group and its lack of finances, leadership, and competence.

The second biggest problem is that our team as a whole has a lack of talent. Not one of our forwards would be a first line forward on another team (Ladd comes the closest). Only Ladd and maybe one or two more could crack the second line of a playoff team. Now not saying our players can’t play. What Im saying is we have almost no true first line talent. Our roster from top to bottom is mostly third and fourth liners.

Now on the plus side we have some players to build on. Buff and Toby give us the best defencemen we have ever had. And they are relative young. Ladd is a stud. Burmi and Kane have tons of upside. Ive been very impressed with Kanes development. And in Pavs, I truly think we have our goalie for a while. But I hate to to say it but everyone else is vanilla. Solid and stand by but nothing special.

And I still like our coaching staff. Im still willing to give them a mullligan. I want to see Ramsay build what they have. The same for Duds. I would live to see what Duds could do with a bigger busget.

But the bottom line is you get what you pay for. The ASG can only afford a vanilla cone. Heres to getting an owner who can spring for the brownie ala mode sundae with cherries and sprinkles.


March 21st, 2011
5:04 pm

excuse me typos, its quitting time but I wanted to say my piece! lol

Great Idea

March 21st, 2011
6:09 pm

Move the Thrashers to Winnipeg and then move the Coyotes to Atlanta. Imagine how good the Coyotes would be in the East.

northern exposure

March 21st, 2011
6:22 pm

At times I don’t even think this team is in good physical condition. The only player who seems to be able to skate full speed for more than 20 seconds is Kane. Is that why they play 5 on 5 in defensive zone as if they are killing a penalty, stand in your zone with stick in front of you, no agressiveness. Is that why we come out of our own zone in slow motion, or blast in from center ice and hope by the time a forward gets to the offensive zone the puck is still free? This team is mostly young and fairly fast but plays like an old timers team. Bad owners or not, coaches and players are still getting their checks and should all give a better effort. The coaches don’t seem to have a clue to change things. The players must take it upon themselves, work harder and have some pride or go get a real job like us suckers who pay to watch your dismal efforts.


March 21st, 2011
6:52 pm

I’ve been a Ramsey fan from day one, but now I’m starting to wonder. Maybe’s it’s something I can build on.


March 21st, 2011
7:29 pm

Here’s what I’m looking for: Thrashers tank; ASG is forced to sell to a local interest at a considerable discount; Duds gets to pick a high draft number; the new owner comes in, put the foot down and cleans the house (DW out-the -door would be a good start).

Dream on! Believe in whataver-it’s-going-to-be-land!


March 21st, 2011
8:29 pm

Midfield: We have a DREAM…that someday DW will be fired not promoted.

East Point Bob

March 21st, 2011
9:20 pm

Nashville is run professionally and wants to win. Atlanta is a cluster you know what and owners, GM, players are only collecting a paycheck with no desire to win anything. All most players want to do is leave. Nashville has an excellent GM, we have another Waddell, who has no idea what to do,
he does nothing positive, following coming in with a bang, it’s been down a very steep hill since and the Bergfors trade was another Colburn type trade that will haunt us for a long time. The guy we got has done nothing and he will do nothing and he will not be returning next season, so we get another great 5th round pick. Just great, esp… after telling the paper he would not trade youth or picks for 35 year old guys, the guy he got is 34 and has done not one damn thing. I am so sick of watching other teams bully us, make us look like fools and we respond like wimps. I hope if a new owner comes in, out go Waddell, Dudley, Ramsey and the scouting staff, that would be a step in the right direction for sure !


March 21st, 2011
9:27 pm

What’s Ramsay supposed to do? Every one of these players (except for Buff and Enstrom) was or would be, at best, a 3rd or 4th liner on a playoff cup contender. Many of them, such as our current 3rd & 4th liners wouldn’t even be able to break the line-up on a Cup contender. If we don’t have playoff caliber players – why do we expect playoffs (with the 29th highest payroll)? Why do we expect top line caliber play?

Some of you are being awful hard on Ramsay. (It’s like putting lipstick on a Pig). So who is to blame? Dudley? He is not allowed to spend for and sign top line players. It all comes back to the top… The Owners. We have witnessed the same results now year after year. Without committed Ownership the franchise is destined to fail. Here’s hoping to a new Owner this summer.

Riddle me this

March 21st, 2011
10:27 pm

Our players watch crap like TMZ and read US Weekly. Point is they are soft.

Puck Like A Porn Star

March 21st, 2011
11:15 pm

Is Torch ready to man the ship a little earlier than expected…?

Wrath of Thor's Jaw

March 22nd, 2011
6:02 am

Same soft mentality, same soft results. Starts at the top, I don’t see why Rammer does this now, I vaguely remember a nearly 3 month long losing streak. If players weren’t questioned individually then, what’s the point now? This team has played tough and physical and gave maximum effort sporadically all season long. This team refuses to battle on an nightly basis and it’s no surprise we are on the outside looking in. If you didn’t notice the two Bruin players when they arrived based on grit and effort in comparison to our regulars, then you are oblivious. It was night and day as far as players coming from a good team that demands effort and what we have ..and that my friends is the problem, the same problem we’ve had for a very long time. We are an easy team to play against, we are SOFT ..etc etc.


March 22nd, 2011
8:11 am

ROTJ- Watched the Pen-Wings game last night and it was a pleasure to see teams actually trying to win, hustling, hitting, feisty. We have seen only brief instances of real hockey from this group of SOFTIES. When the going gets rough, we fold up shop. We were pathetic under Fraser but we never backed down. Clueless Craig and Johnny Boy never got the boys to Defend the Homeland.

Not Blind

March 22nd, 2011
8:30 am

Hitting is overrated :rolleyes:


March 22nd, 2011
9:48 am

i don’t see where the injuries were that big a factor. slater ia a 4th line center: losing him was not the reason that the team is so bad.

Ryan C.

March 22nd, 2011
12:34 pm

I was in support of Rammer at the beginning of the season as well, but this is the first year, that after the 3rd period, if we are behind, I don’t believe we can come back, it’s only happened like 3 times (feels like it anyway). I don’t see from period to period where we adjust at all, I hate to jump on the bandwagon, but Rammer might need to go.


March 22nd, 2011
1:58 pm

[quote]Curly: [b]What’s Ramsay supposed to do? Every one of these players (except for Buff and Enstrom) was or would be, at best, a 3rd or 4th liner on a playoff cup contender. Many of them, such as our current 3rd & 4th liners wouldn’t even be able to break the line-up on a Cup contender. If we don’t have playoff caliber players – why do we expect playoffs (with the 29th highest payroll)? Why do we expect top line caliber play? [/b][/quote]

Couldn’t have said it better myself!!

Sage of Bluesland

March 22nd, 2011
4:49 pm

Everyone remain calm! Everyone please remain calm!

We are only in the third installment of Don Waddell’s initial “Five Year Plan”.

He is, after all, getting ‘better’ as he learns on the job…


March 22nd, 2011
7:56 pm

It must be nice to be an expert as most of you (who likely haven’t played past house leagues) seem to be. This team is made up of third and fourth line players and you are expecting a miracle. Ownership needs to get off the wallet and allow management to spend a bit of money to get more talent.