Coach Ramsay believes defense can be Thrashers strength

So, how did new Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay spend this past holiday weekend? Well, taking advantage of the beautiful weather that was experienced here in Atlanta, he and his wife checked out some of the sights in Buckhead and did a little shopping. Being out and about in the fair climes of the south is something Ramsay says he could get used to.

“I spent 22 years in Buffalo and was asked if I would ever leave”, he told me. “I said ‘yeah if they ever put a team in Florida’. So I’ve been with both teams in Florida and now Atlanta”.

Of course, the weather down here wasn’t the only thing about Atlanta that coach Ramsay had heard of, “The traffic has been found to be everything it was proposed to be”.

However, his commute to the Duluth Ice Forum has been nothing but a pleasure, he insists. The coach says that’s because he truly is enjoying the people he is working with. He and general manager Rick Dudley and team president Don Waddell have known each other for years and Ramsay really is looking forward to building something special here in Thrasherville.

”Don is a great worker, student of the game and he’s going to be an invaluable tool for me and the coaching staff”.

Craig Ramsay, seen here with Milan Lucic, says making the Thrashers defense a team strength will be his top priority (AP Photo / Mike Dembeck)

Craig Ramsay, seen here with Milan Lucic, says making the Thrashers defense a team strength will be his top priority (AP Photo / Mike Dembeck)

He added that he knows what Rick Dudley expects from this team given that they went through the same “changing of the culture” experience while in Tampa. There, the two taught a Lightning team how to play and how to win at the NHL level.  Because of it, their names were etched in the Stanley Cup in 2004.

When discussing what it takes to create a winning environment, the coach said, “If you’re going to be successful you have to have good people in the organization and everybody has to be in this together and they have to understand that they’re part of something”.

He added that the presence of those necessary ingredients is what helped him to make the decision to head south and coach the Thrashers. “They’ve got good people here and that’s what really made it fun to come in”.

Joining Ramsay behind the bench are two other coaches that he’s excited to work with, John Torchetti and Mike Stothers. I asked Ramsay about sharing coaching duties with a man like Torchetti, whom many felt just as qualified to be head coach himself. Among other things, he plans on using him to help address the team’s biggest shortcoming throughout the years…defense.

“[Torchetti] will run the defense during the game and he’ll be overseeing the power play. I’ve generally done the defense with every team I’ve been with, but he will run that during the game”.

When coaching in Boston, Ramsay admitted that they felt comfortable exposing the Thrashers’ Achilles heal saying, “We thought we could take advantage of Atlanta in their own end, but I think we will turn that around…that will be a priority for us”.

But he doesn’t merely want to improve the play on defense… he actually feels it has the potential to become an asset.

“We want to change that attitude, that’s for sure. I think looking at this [team] that our defense could be our strength. That’s what we did in Tampa when we won the Cup. In Boston we were very strong on the blueline. Rick understands that value…and we’ve got good people here and we think they can make this defense work and it can be turned to our advantage”.

“We believe strongly that we have to be good at getting the puck out. Boston became probably one of the best breakout team that I’ve had, probably better than Tampa was, because we did a good job as a team. I have every confidence that we can make our team good in our end. And once you’ve established that, you can break out quickly and strongly and now you can start playing an up-ice and up-tempo game that I feel we can play”.

Ramsay and Torch have also been discussing the team’s power play. The key to success here, he says, is to just keep it simple and get the job done.

“I think our power play can be very effective. I think we have some people that can make it work. John’s got some good ideas on the power play and simplicity is something we’ve talked about already…and that’s something I couldn’t agree with more. We want to start off by getting to the point and shooting it. We’ve got a couple of people who can shoot it. And that’s going to help us get some net presence”.

“I think our power play is going to be [run] simple. We’ll make some tweaks to it but generally we want to make sure we’re not trying to do too much. Just go out and get it done”.

Mike Stothers will start the year off upstairs, maybe coming down for the third period.

And coach Ramsay certainly does not feel threatened at all by having such quality people coaching from his bench. In fact, he rather prefers it that way.

“Part of a head coaches job is to train your successors. These guys [assistant coaches], I want them to be down there working with me. I know for a fact I can work with both of them. So together I think we’re going to have a real good, tight group that works solidly together”.

Of the players he and his staff will coach, Ramsay says he likes the way the roster is taking shape. He is especially excited about the Chicago connection that made their way here along with Torchetti. He’s looking forward to using them them, and veterans like newly acquired Freddie Modin whom he coached in Tampa, to help teach the winning ways of hockey to the other players.

But even those with a few years experience under their belts can still continue in the learning process.

“We’ve got kids coming in from all over the place who have not been together, and I’m going to put in a style of play that’s fun so they can use their enthusiasm to participate with. However, even veteran players have to learn things…they haveto change their games. When you look at a Dave Andreychukand how he came in as strictly an offensive player, but by the time we finished in Tampa Bay he did everything for us…including killing penalties for us”.

For Ramsay, it’s the fine details that can be taught to these players that can make a big difference.

“I’ve always felt my job is not just to tell them to go out and play but to make sure they understand the small subtle differences that separate really good players from just another player…things that will allow them to maximize their talent. But those details make a vital difference”.

“When I talked to Freddie Modin in Tampa about looking big killing penalties, he and the others looked like I had two heads. Well, how do you look big? You can do things with your feet, legs and your body that make you look bigger and scare others from even shooting. Also, you have to be willing to block shots”.

“And if you are willing to go out there and do that, then others will be willing as well”.

Ramsay explains that it’s one thing to try and implement a game plan, but when players have been taught how to cope when “Plan A” goes south then you have a smarter more effective team. This is a lesson that remained with him from his early days from those who taught him the sport.

“I was very lucky growing up. I only played for two coaches until I turned pro. They taught me to look at the game, read the game and try to understand the game. Once you do that, then you can adjust to whatever you have on the ice. If you’re just told to go here or go there then when it breaks down…and in hockey, it does…well, then you have players asking ‘Now what do you do? You didn’t tell us about that’”.

Ramsay he wants to “hopefully make them the smartest team in hockey. And that’s what I consider my ‘job’. They’ll be better players, we’ll be a better team…and that’s what I think teaching is all about”.

Smarter players, he insists, also give him the confidence to place less emphasis on line matchups and more on skating out his best players on his terms.

“We like matchups…we understand the value of matchups…but we’ve also discussed the downside of matchups. You can get so carried away with having you’re ‘matchups’ that you forget to play your players. And have seen that, where at times some of the best players don’t get on the ice because a coach is too worried about his matchups”.

Continuing, “Once you’re on the road, you can’t always have your matchups. So we won’t get so carried away with that that we won’t get our players out on the ice”.

And so, coach Ramsay and his staff will seek to teach the Thrashers’ players how to play the game and instill in them a winning attitude. But Thrasherville’s newest head coach expects his students to participate not only during lesson time, but during the game as well. And not just on one side of the ice…but all sides.

“We want to have at least two sets of defense that can play against anybody. We want to have at least two lines that we can use in situations when we need them…and we expect all of our players to participate on both ends of the rink”.

Give the history in Thrasherville, that’s a lesson we can only hope that everyone on the team takes to heart.

192 comments Add your comment

Tom

September 8th, 2010
7:44 am

Coach Ramsey has the right attitude and it seems like the right group of coaches. I almost would prefer a down year with a true system being put into place than a race for the playoffs ala Waddell and Hartley.

World Be Free

September 8th, 2010
8:13 am

Rammer knew the Thrashers could be exploited in their own end. Something we have all been talking about for some time, correct? This guy is first class, top quality. Add in the fact that he and Dudley are on the same page and have been for almost 40 years bodes well for this club.

The Real Thrash

September 8th, 2010
8:17 am

Now if can just jettison Waddell.

Darkhorse

September 8th, 2010
8:19 am

Very nice job Rawhide….I hear ya Tom, but I’m going to vote for a solid run to the playoffs if possible. Anything this GM and coaching staff can do to change the perception of this franchise to a positive destination for players and keep our quality FA is what needs to happen.

That said, this roster is still a few sandwiches short of a picnic imo.

Fan from Carolina

September 8th, 2010
8:20 am

Rawhide please excuse this post but I wanted to thank Brendan for his post and time.
Brendan, thank you for taking the time to write all that info about the tickets BUT most of it does not apply to me or anyone that lives in western NC. No Publix, no Kroger, no Entertainment books here. A game is not just a game to me. I don’t want to see the Panthers or Wild or Islanders. I want to see the clubs I want to see at a fair price. The Canes (Raleigh is 5 hours away), the Caps, the Rangers, etc.. I do NOT want to sit in the 400 level. I’m accustomed to the lower level seats from my past and I had to settle for the 2nd level as it is. I was just trying to attend some games that were worth the 2 hour drive and to see the clubs that I wanted to see in decent seats. I can’t do it at a reasonable price. I’ve already bought my $45 2nd level seats for this year so it is settled, but attending NHL games this year will probably be my last. If I lived in the Atlanta area I could probably manage more games as you have pointed out many opportunities, but amazingly I’ve gone from season ticket holder in the 90’s to non-attendance in the future. Fortunately NHL Center Ice is available at a cost of less than 1 attended game for me. I am grateful for that. Thanks again for your time Brendan. You are a good guy!

kracker

September 8th, 2010
8:21 am

How anyone can read this fine article and their only comment is the obsessive one above is beyond me.

kracker

September 8th, 2010
8:22 am

Oops, sorry, I am referring to the short Waddell comment.

kracker

September 8th, 2010
8:27 am

Anyway….maybe it’s due also to the writing skills of the blogmaster but after reading about our coaches, particularly Coach Ramsay, I am really looking forward to watching a new Thrashers team develop this season. It won’t happen over night so let’s hope we don’t get buried early on.

The Smooth Spark

September 8th, 2010
8:36 am

Amen Brother Free!

Bill – did you talk to Rammer about any specific players or did you focus more on overall philosophy? Great read and I really appreciate the time you gave to this assignment, very in depth purview into the inner-workings of Rammer’s noggin.

Rawhide

September 8th, 2010
8:42 am

The Smooth Spark – I did chat with Ramsay about some of the players…but it was more of a “Word Association” kinda thing. I’d say the name of a player then he gave me a quick response based on the first thing that came to mind. Nothing really in-depth or specific about roles.

One thing that really struck me is that he seems to possess a cool confidence…knows what it is he thinks he needs to do. I guess that comes when you’ve been around successful organizations and experienced what has ben done and has worked before.

In the hour spent with him, I don’t think one time an “ummm…” or “ya know…” or “uhhhhh…” came out of his mouth responding to any questions.

Joe Friday

September 8th, 2010
9:10 am

“we expect all of our players to participate on both ends of the rink”.

Preach it, Coach!

Could have done without him signing Waddell’s praises (WTF is with that?) but whatever, hopefully just blowing smoke up his boss’ rear (and he’s still the boss, guys).

Alan R.

September 8th, 2010
9:11 am

This is a beautiful piece of journalism, Bill! Great work! I really enjoyed reading about Ramsay and his plans for the team.

Mikey

September 8th, 2010
9:21 am

Nice work, BlogMaster.

Making the Thrashers defense our “stregnth”? My head is spinning just reading that. I hope it turns into a reality.

Given Rammer and Dudley’s past affiliations, if this team turns into a combination of the 2004 Bolts and the Blackhawks & Bruins of the last few years, I’d bo OK with that.

TrueBlue

September 8th, 2010
9:43 am

Excellent interview and article. I am really really looking forward to seeing this team in October!

Sara

September 8th, 2010
9:59 am

You mean we might see something besides whack-a-mole in our own end? Shocking!!

World Be Free

September 8th, 2010
10:01 am

Almost the season Smoothie! Can’t wait to “don” the Thrasher blue again, I have to get the blue cheese stain off my jersey from the Maytag fries late last season. They should just name those fries “The Triple Bypass Special”.

Rhythmpenguin

September 8th, 2010
10:01 am

Thanks Rawhide! Great interview and writeup! =)

kracker

September 8th, 2010
10:01 am

BenThrashers In case you missed the Rick Dudley interview on Calgary’s Fan 960 yesterday, here it is. http://bit.ly/aPB2CT

I am listening right now!

Smoothie

September 8th, 2010
10:13 am

Anyone heading to Duluth for the rookie camp scrimmage next Wednesday? I’m pretty certain I’ll be taking the long lunch…hope to see some familiar faces! Let’s drop the puck!!

kracker

September 8th, 2010
10:24 am

From the Dudley interview: On Oduya and the d-men, lookinf for scoring, for Oduya to be more offensive minded…Buff possibly to defense…Buff was developing into a top 4 d-man in Chicago. The change is up to Rammer…Rammer is a premier defensive teacher of the game, taught Boyle, Boychuck…reiterates his theory of not signing a player he thinks would not be picked up on waivers…Duds says he/they watched Modin closely in LA and in the playoffs, he thinks he played “really, really well”…he played for Duds and Rammer before. On Little…is less well known because he plays in Atlanta. On Kane…very focused…a leader…reminds Duds of Towes. On Bergfors…still negotiating. Looking for Burma and Cormier possibly to make team…same for Zubarev possibly, Kulda, too. Goaltenders…league wide trend is not to pay big bucks…did not expect to get a tender of Mason’s caliber. Would love a split goalie tandem. Mason is a good teacher. Looks for balanced scoring from the Thrashers…roll three lines…offence from the B/L.

kracker

September 8th, 2010
10:25 am

Love to, Smoothie! But I need the job more :) If I take off any time, it will probably be during main camp.

World Be Free

September 8th, 2010
10:26 am

Thanks for the Cliff Notes kracker-well done

Smoothie

September 8th, 2010
10:31 am

“On Kane…very focused…a leader”

Just hope he isn’t gleaning too many life lessons from Snooki and The Situation when he watches Jersey Shore!!

MASHAPlayer7

September 8th, 2010
10:33 am

Rawhide-that was a great interview. One of the best coach interviews I have seen anywhere. I like Rammer’s thinking…you can tell he is a cerebral coach…and we haven’t had many (any?) of those in Thrashers history. I really like the “smartest team” comments…smarts, determination and conditioning are usually the tipping points to truly successful hockey teams. Talent will get you far, but only so far.

I am excited about this year’s product. Even if the winning doesn’t happen right away, they will be a team that will be fun to watch and we can at least be proud of…and not have buyer’s remorse after forking over hard-earned dollars to attend Philips Arena.

Jack

September 8th, 2010
10:39 am

Kracker thanks for the link. What was your take on whether Dudley is finished or not(exception being Bergfors)

Adam

September 8th, 2010
10:40 am

Please, PLEASE, please don’t view my following comments as being a Waddell apologist. I think that from my previous posts most of you know how I feel about that topic.
Maybe, just maybe, this setup that’s in place for the entire management of the team can work. (You can’t fix the Octocluster without a new owner so I’ll just leave that one alone.) It’s been well documented that Waddell is well liked around the league. If he adjusts into a roll that utilizes his strengths and Dud’s and Rammer do the same they may make a good team together by covering each other’s weaknesses. Waddell was not a good GM. That much is known. But if his role complements the people that are beneath him instead of hampering the organ-I-zation we may see them build something that will change the legacy he has made for himself.
He’s still here so that’s all we can hope for.
I believe that financing has dictated many of the poor decisions that have been made by Waddell. Add to that his ineptitude to make the correct decision on personnel, from coaches to players, with the money he was given and the result is what we got. A subpar, poorly run franchise which has been the laughing stock of the league and an undesired destination for players.
From what I have watched and read of the new GM and coaching staff I believe the right people are finally in place within the club. When the last time you heard a coach of the Thrashers say the things that Rammer has said in this article alone? I sure haven’t and I really hope this philosophy rubs off on our minor league affiliates.

Smoothie

September 8th, 2010
10:42 am

kracker – thanks for the recap, and sorry your job demands that you actually work more than a few hours a day! ;-) But did you get a sinking feeling in your stomach when the radio guy asked about Bergie? Obviously he passed the buck so to speak saying it was Larry Simmons’ job, but there was nothing positive to say really. Perhaps I’m just scaring myself, but at least with Duds (should we have to trade him), we should be able to get good value for him in a trade scenario.

Josh

September 8th, 2010
10:47 am

Great read, rammer and staff are one of things that have me very excited about this season and things to come.

Alan R.

September 8th, 2010
10:58 am

Obviously he passed the buck so to speak saying it was Larry Simmons’ job

I heard that yesterday and didn’t think anything of it. Really, that’s why Simmons is there. Dudley has said in the past that negotiations are handled by Simmons.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m really not too worried at this point.

Mr. Willson

September 8th, 2010
10:59 am

Good work, Bill. It’s gotten me more psyched for this season. Gotta temper my high hopes. By this interview alone, I’d can see that we are heading in a positive direction.

kracker

September 8th, 2010
11:06 am

Smoothie, I did somewhat get that feeling when all he said about Bergfors was they were still negotiating. No praise of Bergy, no talk of how well he expects him to play this season or how he is intended to be used. It is possible this is a Dudley tactic of not publicly fawning over players during an ongoing negotiation…and I suppose that makes sense. That said, I would have expected a little more chit-chat about the player’, if only from the standpoint of providing information during a radio interview.

Fred from Thrasherville

September 8th, 2010
11:07 am

Long time reader, first time commenter. Nice article on the new coach, blogmaster.

I’m a bit concerned about this whole Buff on defense thing and Bergfors still yet to be signed. But let’s see how it all pans out during camp.

I classify myself as “expectantly optimistic”. This is opposed to being “skeptically optimistic” the past few years. How would you and your regular contributors classify yourselves?

I’ll hang up and listen.

GaVaHokie

September 8th, 2010
11:17 am

Just FYI… In case you haven’t done the math yet. Atlanta has more money invested in Defense and Goaltending than Offense so far… that’s gotta be a first, at least in the post lockout era.

Jack

September 8th, 2010
11:24 am

Kracker I would say that Coach Rex Ryan of the Jets could learn from Dudley’s tactic of not publicly fawning over players.

I as well felt some turning when Bergfors was brought up. But we shall see, really curious if another move will be made. However it sounds like dudley is 90% satisfied of what he has so far.

Joe Friday

September 8th, 2010
11:57 am

“I classify myself as “expectantly optimistic”. This is opposed to being “skeptically optimistic” the past few years.”

I would say that hits the nail on the head. Now, what I’m optimistic for is not a Cup run or even playoffs, that would be a sweet suprise. I’m optimistic of better overall play at both ends and no more figure skating from the forwards. That’s hockey, to me, and will make my viewing pleasure much more enjoyable.

Smoothie

September 8th, 2010
11:59 am

kracker – yep, those were pretty much my sentiments exactly! I know that Dudley is probably shrewd enough to not give Bergy’s agent any leverage by fawning over him in an interview, but I have not really heard much of anything positive coming out of Duds’ mouth regarding Bergfors. Not that he is negative but rather he always seems to leave him out of the discussion. Perhaps I need to go back to some of the older interviews, print and otherwise, and see if I’m just conjuring that up in my own head cuz I’m worried about the course of negotiations.

Wayne stuck in AL

September 8th, 2010
12:07 pm

Defense had better be the Thrashers’ strength; Dudley REFUSES to sign any 1st-line forwards.

lemon drop the gloves

September 8th, 2010
12:14 pm

great work rawhide. this team is trending upward and trying to do it the right way. i like rammer and his philosphy. duds good too – just don’t agree with him and big buff on defence. kracker – thanks for the link on his interview. the next month will be very interesting. i’m thinking there will be a few fights in camp with all the competition. really enjoy this blog. 92 points/3rd in division/8th in conference

A2B

September 8th, 2010
12:40 pm

I wouldn’t say Dudley refuses to sign any first liners, but think of it this way: Dudley knows our weakness has always been GA. IF you take one season to hammer that down then when a big time scorer hits the market you can fit him in to a more responible team and then plug the holes where they show up. He made or Goalie situation better, brought in all kinds of size and competition for D and is forcing players to really work on both sides of their game.

glovesave29

September 8th, 2010
1:25 pm

Bill – you missed your calling. This is a well thought out and excellent piece of work. There is a reason all are commending you here…some of your best work yet.

Carolina Fan – just post here if you plan on coming down for a game. I am sure one of us can hook you up with decent seats at a fair price. I get a pretty nice discount going through the local beer league, plus we don’t have to pay Ticketmaster fees. The Thrashers also make a contribution to our league foundation for all tickets sold – that money is used to fund handicapped hockey and help families of players and former players that have left us too soon.

I met Rammer a few years back at a Lightning practice at DIF. I offered an old Sabres puck to sign, he asked my name, took the time to personalize it and make it nice and legible, then shook my hand and thanked me for coming out. It was a nice gesture, and he took the time – and in a small nutshell, that is his personality. He understands. He takes the time. He knows not only the challenges the Thrashers face, but hockey in the south in general. I am infinitely more confident with him behind the bench. No more waiting for the team to “get” his philosophy – he will adjust the schemes to match the talents (and shortcomings) of the team. Last year, we too often got beaten in the latter part of the game as other teams made adjustments and we did not. I think those days are behind us!

Bergie will sign. There are too many good UFA’s still out there. With the new CBA, teams know the importance of building from within and getting talented players with more manageable contracts to contend with, in addition to the players that will have to be jettisoned by teams above the cap. Few teams will offer RFA’s sheets knowing they will lose multiple 1st and 2nd rounders – and also putting them in line for cap issues down the road. Everyone is going to wait it out – thus lessening Bergie’s bargaining position. I hope he signs and understands it is just part of the business. No taking it personal like Francoeur did with the Braves a few years back…instead act like Brian McCann – sign the deal and go play hard.

Red Light

September 8th, 2010
1:46 pm

After July 8, first-liners were hard to come by, but I certainly agree that wasn’t addressed. The interesting thing is that there isn’t a coach anywhere that doesn’t want to limit goals against and stress defense (except maybe JA), so to me that point is moot, but it’s how you limit opponent’s chances that matters. To me, Ramsay has a much clearer picture on that than most but lets not kid yourself, if this team starts winning games 5-4 or 4-3, there isn’t one person on this blog that would have a problem with that. It’s time to count wins and points, rather than feeling good about “good losses.” Obviously, fewer goals allowed means you have a better chance to win, but I think one vital item that all of us should pay attention to as the season unfolds is how this team plays in the neutral zone and transitioning from defense-to-offense after creating turnovers. If all goes according to plan, Ramsay’s team will be much better in the neutral zone come Dec. 1 than any we have seen here before. They will have had ample time by that point to figure out what Ramsay wants and I expect a huge improvement in that area.

Nice job Bill. Keep up the fine work.

Thrashers27

September 8th, 2010
1:46 pm

Nice piece, Bill!

No “Umms”, or “you knows”, huh…Well, Bob Hartley he ain’t. :)

Only a few weeks left!!!

Zoomo

September 8th, 2010
1:47 pm

Chiming in the with Kudos, Bill. Great timing too. Nice pre-cursor to camp.

glovesave29

September 8th, 2010
1:47 pm

OK Sabres fans…this should make your day. Here are the new jerseys that replace the Buffaslugs…

http://img228.imageshack.us/img228/6530/newalt1.jpg
http://img821.imageshack.us/img821/5079/newroad.jpg

Brendan

September 8th, 2010
1:55 pm

Well, it all sounds good. Loved the interview, Rawhide. I cannot even begin to express to you how you’ve taken this “Fan ‘Blogger” assignment to another level. For most newspaper, the fan blogger chimes in to say, “Well, tough business about this losing streak. Maybe we’ll win the next one. What do you guys think?” That’s what a fan blogger is required to say/do for this type of column. Amazing to see this kind of coverage, that we’re now used to and spoiled by.

I have loved the Ramsay signing from Day #1. I remember the naysayers were here to say that Torchetti was the only decent candidate, and that we’d blown it with him. Nope, for once, I think the Thrashers got it right. Ramsay as Head Coach. Torchetti as Associate Coach. They’re going to work well together. The team will truly be a TEAM, now, rather than a smattering of star players with insufficient supporting cast.

I am optimistic about the season, even if it will end outside of the playoffs. The point is … we’re now moving in a BETTER direction than before. I’m avoiding the phrase that requires that I pay the AS, LLC a royalty.

Brendan

September 8th, 2010
1:56 pm

Fan From Carolina, I put a response on the previous blog.

kracker

September 8th, 2010
2:14 pm

That is a good line about avoiding paying the ASG royalties, Brendan. Continuing your thought on Ramsay, he also said “Part of a head coaches job is to train your successors…” I think that is certainly true for Ramsay in this head partucular coaching position. Training the Torch to take over in a few years, I mean. I hope it works out that way. I also would really love to see Ramsay crown his hockey and coaching career by taking his Thrashers teams to the playoffs consistently, having them play well in the playoffs and perhaps get to the Cup series. And then, of course, earn the Cup.

Smoothie

September 8th, 2010
2:21 pm

glovesave – wonderful post! Good to hear the heart-warming story about Rammer. He just seems like that kind of guy who would take the time to sign and chat no matter who approaches him. He just seems genuinely appreciative of the fact he’s been able to make hockey a career. Then again, you could say that about the vast majority of hockey peeps.

Also, this part of your post intrigues me:

“I get a pretty nice discount going through the local beer league, plus we don’t have to pay Ticketmaster fees. The Thrashers also make a contribution to our league foundation for all tickets sold – that money is used to fund handicapped hockey and help families of players and former players that have left us too soon.”

Could you send me more information on this “program” by which tkts are made available, if indeed it is something they actively promote within local leagues? I think the fact that proceeds are being donated to a good cause would make for a good write-up feature entry on my blog. I love stories like this. Billy the Thrill Tiller has my e-mail address if you wouldn’t mind taking the time to elaborate a bit more on the process / program and sending it to Rawhide’s e-mail account. Or he can forward you my info and we can go from there. It certainly seems like one situation where the ASG deserves a little bit of praise. Then again, I could be wrong! ;-)

Thanks!

glovesave29

September 8th, 2010
2:41 pm

Smoothie – actually its the beer league that has the foundation, not the ASG. I have OK’s Bill to send you my personal info.

Players look at adults wanting autos with a weary eye. They think all will end up on eBay (should they really care anyhow with their salaries? – but I digress). When he wanted to personalize it, I jumped at the chance, and he could tell it was for me and was a good guy about it. Other players who were really cool were Joe Sakic (actually apologized for Patrick Roy being a total ass to me), Jacques Lemaire, Dave Schultz (!), Colin Paterson (I thanked him for the 89 cup over a beer or three!), Martin Brodeur, Bill Clement, Clarke Gillies, Bobby Hull and Stephane Richer (another !). Got them all displayed in the “man cave”

kracker

September 8th, 2010
2:43 pm

Jason Williams is still available…