Word association and Cup talk with Craig Ramsay

Recently I was able to engage in a little “word association” exercise with Thrashers head coach Craig Ramsay. I gave the name of a specific player and he then responded with a brief description of said player based upon his initial thoughts.

Here’s a sampling of how things went…

Evander Kane: “Speed…and shot. I just saw him the other day just fire one and it was quite impressive. I love the way he just gets around the ice”.

Zach Bogosian: “Strong…shot”

Chris Mason: “Steady…and just a good person. I liked him when I met him and I just like the way he is a solid goalie and a solid person”.

Coach Ramsey has been impressed with Evander Kane's speed and shooting ability (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

Coach Ramsey has been impressed with Evander Kane's speed and shooting ability (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

Nik Antropov: “Big, strong…I think he can do more for us. I think this kid can be a good solid two-way player. Really dominate”.

Dustin Byfuglien: “Potential…talented. For a big man he has great hands. He can shoot and he can handle the puck. And he’s a pretty impressive character when you look at him. His potential is limited to only what he’s willing to do”.

Jimmy Slater: “Hustle…grind…work”.

Ron Hainsey: “Stick…good stick. Poise. I think he has poise on the ice. I really see a nice upside to him”.

Rich Peverley: “Quickness…offense”.

Brent Sopel: “Shot blocking…position…steady. I think he’s going to bring a lot to this defense. I don’t [have any concerns] that he comes to play. He’s willing to block shots and he’s a guy that willing to help other guys be better”.

Bryan Little: “Very tricky…I like the way that he’s ‘nifty’. He’s got good hands. We need him to score, but he will make people around him better”.

I wrapped up the exercise not with a player’s name, but with an event…winning the Stanley Cup in 2004 as the associate coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning

“It’s amazing”, he said. “It’s really an amazing event when you finally win that”.

He was then quick to explain that he is not the only member of the Ramsay family that had won the Cup. Two of his two sons have also been a part of a Cup-winning team. “One was with Pittsburgh when they won and my other son scouts for the Blackhawks, so we’ve won three in the past few years”.

He then explained how his day with the Stanley Cup was spent in Fort Erie, Ontario on August 1 of 2004. Dave Andreychuk had it in Buffalo the day before and then brought it across the bridge to him. They were part owners of the Fort Erie Golf Club at the time and Ramsay played a round with the Cup and his three sons Travis, Jad and Brendon.

He told his boys that they would then honor the memory of his late grandfather by drinking a beer prior to the second shot of the first hole.

 On the eighth hole, Ramsay sank a 40-foot putt for birdie and he credited to Cup for the effort. He also lamented that of all the film being shot that day of him with the Stanley Cup, that was the one time the cameras were not filming.

Then Ramsay took it to his the house of Jad’s future father-in-law to surprise him with it. They say the Cup on his front porch and phoned him to come outside.

“He didn’t know it was coming”. Ramsay recalled. “They just called him up, had him come out and there it was. He got a chance to sit with it for about an hour and a half while neighbors came by to have their picture taken with it”.

Later in the evening the Stanley Cup was taken back to the golf club where it was used to raise funds for cancer research in memory of Ramsay’s friend Roger Neilson.

Finally, I asked the coach what his plans might be for the Cup after he wins it again as the Thrashers coach. He smiled as he responded in a matter of fact fashion, as if the idea wasn’t that far-fetched.

”I might just keep it right here [in Atlanta]”, he said gesturing with his arms out. “I haven’t really decided just yet…we’ll wait and see”.

71 comments Add your comment

goose

September 14th, 2010
7:05 pm

Rhythmpenguin

September 14th, 2010
7:15 pm

The goose that laid the Golden egg =P =)

Thrashers27

September 14th, 2010
7:17 pm

Bill, you continue to impress with your creativity and enthusiasm. Keep up the good work.

Can’t wait for the puck to drop on October 8th. GO THRASHERS!!!

kracker

September 14th, 2010
7:47 pm

Nicely done, Rawhide. Did you notice that Coach Ramsay seems to like all our players? :)

I look forward to seeing how he fits the pieces together, distributes time and duties, etc.

Zoomo

September 14th, 2010
8:05 pm

Good coach’s mentality in thinking that there’s more upside to a veteran like Antropov. I love that in a coach.

Rhythmpenguin

September 14th, 2010
8:20 pm

You mean “kid” like Antropov. At least that’s what Ramsay called him. =)

World Be Free

September 14th, 2010
8:25 pm

Word association-
“Boris Valabik”
Answer-Lady Bing defenseman

Or the second coming of Bill Hajt

World Be Free

September 14th, 2010
8:30 pm

Hope there’s more with Ramsay down the road. Rammer is one of the real honest guys on the game, I have a feeling he was pretty easy going during the entire conversation. That’s Rammer.

I am also sure he waited until he was in Canada to buy his beer (or malt liq), John Labatt’s Extra Stock or Molson Brador I hope. I miss the Ontario Beer stores and the goodness they serve.

A27

September 14th, 2010
8:34 pm

Did you know Coach Ramsay has no stomach. Its true look it up. Anyway… I could not be more stoked to have him as our coach. He truly is a great teacher of the game and that is something that’s been lacking around these parts for some time. I think we will be pleasantly surprised with him as our coach.

Hockey Biltong

September 14th, 2010
10:43 pm

WBF just go downtown next to 5 seasons to the NEW Beer store or to Tower of Power for all your tasty libations…
BTW Sporting NEWS has it’s 2010 Thrasher review as of tonight and it includes Todd White and Clark Macarthur as being Thrashers. what a bunch of hoooey………

Red Light

September 14th, 2010
10:56 pm

World, Biltong…Ever try Kokanee Beer from Creston, BC? Ever seen it sold in the States? Missing that glacier taste! Maybe Badger Bob can smuggle some in for us since he’s north of the parallel I think.

Brendan

September 14th, 2010
11:40 pm

WBF, Bill Hajt was an accomplished defenseman. A little lanky, but solid. If Valabik became Bill Hajt, we’ll all be thrilled. For a ’steadier’ defenseman in that era for Buffalo, I cannot recall. Every now and again, Hajt would stun the world with a breakaway goal. We’re still waiting for Boris’ first NHL goal. I think R.Stroztradamus has the over under set at 50 games for Boris’ 1st NHL goal.

Rawhide, imagine if the word association game went like this. Valabik: Lurch, “You rang?” Slater: “Hands of cement” (until the 2nd half of the season.) Rissmiller: “No chance.” Kulda: “Coulda.” Antropov: “Must succeed.” Kane: “No Cabbiegate here.” Boulton: “Have a seat in the box.” That would have been funny. But, certainly, not permitted. I know this much. Ramsay’s not supposed to have a say over the roster, per Dudley. He’s to make the magic with the soup he’s got.

Badger Bob

September 15th, 2010
12:06 am

RL, you are one day too late and I’m a case of Kokanees short! I was enjoying them this weekend, though – good call. A little like Coors but with alcohol.

And great stuff, Rawhide!

Badger Bob

September 15th, 2010
1:33 am

I guess I’m still on mountain time – just past 11 out there…

So with the last of our RFAs locked up, I thought I’d revisit my “over/under” prediction for the RFAs we had at the qualifying offer deadline (Pavs, MacA, Eager, Little and Bergie). I put the over/under at “8.5 – 9M”. My buddy RL thought it might be higher. Subtract the 1.4M we all figured for MacA (no raise, and the CBA requires he make 100% of his previous salary), and we’re down to 7.1 – 7.6M for the four of them.

The final result? A 5.4M in cap hit for the four. Clearly I’ll never make it as an oddmaker, at least so long as an Octobudget is in the mix.

http://blogs.ajc.com/iceman-thrashers-blog/2010/06/27/dudley-keeps-balance-at-draft-by-not-losing-arm-and-leg/#comment-30326

World Be Free

September 15th, 2010
6:10 am

Brendan, oddly enough we used to call Bill Hajt “Bambi” because of his boring, lanky style. Boris and Billy had one thing in common -big guys that don’t fight their size. Jimmy truly does have hands of cement, that better get softer cause he is going to be pushed this season. Ramsay may use the press box as a “pusher” for Jimmy just like last season.

Biltong-thanks for the tip, I need a premium beer store! Total Wine is a good store, not premium. Red Light, never had Kekokee Beer before, have not seen it sold in the States though I have to imagine it’s great. Sounds like a winner.

Lee

September 15th, 2010
7:55 am

Great blog Rawhide!

Can’t wait to see these guys on the ice…. 23 Days!!!!

kracker

September 15th, 2010
8:00 am

Lee, The Thrashers will be on the ice at main camp at Duluth Ice Forum in 3 days and at Philips for the 1st pre-season game vs. CBJ in 6 days.

World Be Free

September 15th, 2010
8:18 am

Does anyone know the total payroll as of today, now that everyone is signed?

Rhythmpenguin

September 15th, 2010
8:25 am

World Be Free

September 15th, 2010
8:30 am

Rhythm-thanks for the update.
I still thing there’s a move out there

PhiK

September 15th, 2010
8:39 am

Has anyone heard about the TV schedule yet? Usually they have announced that by now.

Rhythmpenguin

September 15th, 2010
8:49 am

I think we will make a trade if the right opportunity arises. Dudley is not one to appear eager and wanting. If you use the numbers on cap geek Boston, Vancouver, NJ, and Calgary really need to clear out some cap space. There are about 16 teams with 5 million or more in cap space that could take some salary from the teams in need. What options do the cap strapped teams have? Trade, send to the AHL, ???

World Be Free

September 15th, 2010
8:56 am

Or loan a player to a European team. Who knows, maybe this is the group we head to teh season with. I agree that Dudley is in no hurry to make a deal.

glovesave29

September 15th, 2010
9:01 am

No, sorry WBF – “Valabik = cement”

Rhythmpenguin

September 15th, 2010
9:02 am

WBF, I am confused? You said. “I still thing there’s a move out there” and that “Dudley is in no hurry to make a deal.” Do you mean that there are trade options open to us, but Dudley is in no hurry to and not actively trying to make a deal?

Michael B. Shapiro

September 15th, 2010
9:06 am

Bill

Getting close to dropping the frggin’ puck, so it must be……time to play Schneid Island!

My prediction on the last to leave the island (if he makes the squad this year) is Big Boris.

Rawhide

September 15th, 2010
9:09 am

Rhythmpenguin – Goose that laid the golden egg? HAR-HAR!! :lol:

Well played, sir!

Getting close to dropping the frggin’ puck, so it must be……time to play Schneid Island!

My prediction on the last to leave the island (if he makes the squad this year) is Big Boris.

MBS – Boris would be a logical choice, indeed. Especially given the fact that his next NHL goal will be his first.

Now, the good news here for Valbik is….he only fell 7 goals shy of equalling Todd White’s goal total last seasn! :lol:

Serioulsy though…I’ll wait ’til we get down to the last 6 or so before beginning a “Last Off Schneid Island” watch, though.

Has anyone heard about the TV schedule yet? Usually they have announced that by now.

PhilK – I haven’t seen anything as of yet…maybe someone else has, however….?

Can’t wait to see these guys on the ice…. 23 Days!!!!

Lee – Why wait that long? First preseason game is in 6 days at Philips Arena.

Did you know Coach Ramsay has no stomach. Its true look it up

A27 – Huh, whaaaa…????

Tom

September 15th, 2010
9:22 am

A27 is correct:

http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/bruins/post/_/id/994/ramsay-returns-to-bench

“”Ramsay has dealt with numerous bouts of cancer and tries to stay healthy because of his past history.

“With no stomach, I get hypoglycemic and along with a touch of the flu it was a little unnerving at first, but I had an idea what was happening,” he said”"

Rhythmpenguin

September 15th, 2010
9:23 am

Come-on guys, players like Boris and Jimmy are trying really hard to play well and make a contribution. If they were not they would not be here. They could probably use some support instead of name calling (aka cement). I will admit that it is funny (though I do not agree with most of the negative analogies).

Boris: D-men and big players take longer to develop, so lets think of him like a goalie. We did draft him in 2004, but he is only 24.
Jimmy: He has taken a while to develop, but currently seems to be doing well. Last season he averaged about 1/3 of a point per game, was a +1 on a minus team, and had a 10.3 shooting percentage.
Thorburn: All I have to say is +6 last season.

I know fans like to rag on players when their team dose not succeed. How about raging on the guys who were/are expected to preform well, but did not. I’ll start with Zhitnik.

World Be Free

September 15th, 2010
9:31 am

Rhythem-Yes, I believe there are options out there, but Dudley will be careful in his moves. We still do not know what the team’s internal cap is.

A27

September 15th, 2010
9:34 am

I first heard about Coach Ramsay’s no stomach story, when I was living Tampa in 03. The Lightning players called him hollow man. Just thought it was a weird story. I didn’t mean it to be offensive to anybody. I love Coach Ramsay.

Darkhorse

September 15th, 2010
9:39 am

WBF, Red Light……Kokanee is the best. My favorite NA beer for sure. I have tried for years to find a distributor in Ga that would bring it in, but Columbia Brewing Co(which brews it) out of Creston, BC says it’s been talked about and the furthest east they’ve gone is Colorado. It’s all over Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Wash St. and Colorado if you’re ever on a road trip out there.

Last year, my in-laws(big Thrashers fans also) and I paid a trucking friend of theirs that was doing a route into Idaho to bring back about twenty cases. Alas, after about three pool parties at their place, it was gone. Been craving some ever since…..Thought about having one of my customers in the Pacific NW fedex me a case.

Rawhide

September 15th, 2010
9:56 am

A27 & Tom – Thanks…I knew he had some health issues in the past.

kracker

September 15th, 2010
10:51 am

The person wanting to know about Schubert will be happy to hear this –

kuklaskorner RT @puckarinen: Frolunda have signed ex-Senator Christoph Schubert 2 a 3 mnth contract NHL/KHL out clause ’til Nov 12: http://bit.ly/9CUvBq

SomaAtl95

September 15th, 2010
10:54 am

I think if Boris is going get his first goal it should be a deflection off the testicles of a certain crybaby in a penguins jersey. Would be fitting and would send the rest of the league a message: If a ref won’t call a player for punching another player repeatedly in the nuts then Karma will.
It would be a Brutally good time :)

ChippersLoveChild

September 15th, 2010
10:55 am

What did they get when they sued the Stanley Cup? ;)

ChippersLoveChild

September 15th, 2010
10:58 am

Also does anyone know if they will be on the ice on Sunday in Duluth at all? I can’t make Saturday, but would love to watch them for an hour on Sunday.

kracker

September 15th, 2010
11:15 am

CLC, go here for the “Practice” times:

http://thrashers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=537363&navid=DL|ATL|home

kracker

September 15th, 2010
11:36 am

Ottawa gets ‘12 All-Star game –

NHL Stars align for Ottawa as #NHL announces the city will host the 2012 All-Star Game. http://bit.ly/czG2G2

kracker

September 15th, 2010
11:46 am

How about we only have men reporters in the mens locker room?? That should reduce the player-reporter harrassment by about 95%. Better yet, make the dressing areas off-limits to non-team personnel except by team request such as during a championship celebration.

duh 5

ChippersLoveChild

September 15th, 2010
11:57 am

Thanks, kracker. I figured I could check there, just can’t access it from work ha. I’ll make sure to check when I get home. I appreciate the link.

Rhythmpenguin

September 15th, 2010
12:04 pm

They’ll be there Sunday

World Be Free

September 15th, 2010
12:59 pm

Did not know Kokanee N/A; takes some of the fun out of drinking beer but I am sure it is great nonetheless. You get great responses here when you talk about beer and rock/roll.

Marc Staal gets a long term deal; I sure hope there’s a LTD in Bergfors’ future.

Red Light

September 15th, 2010
1:27 pm

Bill: Had you read the article I forwarded you in August about Ramsay, you would have know all about it. Check your inbox and forward it to one and all!

glovesave29

September 15th, 2010
1:35 pm

Rhythm – I don’t dog on Slater…I’ve been one of his most ardent supporters. Guy gives 100% all the time and as I have said ad nauseum – speed never slumps.

Boris is different. True, D men can take longer to develop. But Boris is a terrible skater and reads plays totally wrong…so his mistakes too often end up in the back of our net.

Red Light

September 15th, 2010
1:40 pm

Ramsay has no stomach, no prostate and no gall bladder. Almost died!

Here’s an excerpt from the article I published in August.

Upon agreeing to join Roger Neilson’s Florida Panthers coaching staff after spending 22 years as a player and coach in Buffalo, Ramsay and his wife Susan were preparing for the move to south Florida when things got much worse. Ramsay started bleeding at a charity golf event. Susan called the doctor to make an emergency appointment, but no imparity was found and he was sent home. Staying at a friends’ during the preparations to move, Ramsay began spitting up puddles of blood. He crawled out of bed and yelled for help.

“I yelled for (our friend’s) daughter and said, ‘Call your dad. Call Susan, and call 911 quick.’ ”

“They found an ulcer up over top of one of the prior surgeries. They fixed that and thought everything was great, but a week later it was not so great,” Ramsay continued. “I woke up the next day and they asked if I wanted to see the pastor and that kind of stuff. I said, ‘No. Get out.’ ”

Sleep deprived during the entire ordeal, Ramsay said he awoke the following day only to find himself strapped to the bed with tubes going in all directions. “They said, ‘we took your stomach out.’ I thought that’s not good. I like eating. They said I’d be OK, but you don’t know. I had never heard of that before. I had a feed tube in my side. During that stretch, I think I went through 32 units of blood and you only have 14 in your body,” Ramsay said.

After a month in the hospital, Ramsay wasn’t getting any better. They flew to Florida for a consultation with Dr. Mark Sesto of the Cleveland Clinic. Being able to take in only 800 to 1,000 calories a day, Ramsay’s health was deteriorating.

Two days later, his fifth abdominal surgery took place. Dr. Sesto saved Ramsay’s life.

“We made a deal. I told him I’d take him out and buy him a Guinness if he [saved my life]. It was quite awesome,” Ramsay said.

“When I woke up from the surgery, I unhooked myself, shaved and took a shower, that’s how much better I felt. When my wife came in, I said to her, ‘I’m back.’ There was that big [of] a difference in how I was feeling.”

Joe Friday

September 15th, 2010
2:23 pm

Wow, I like our new coach. A lot. A real hockey guy. Thanks for sharing that, Red Light.

Darkhorse

September 15th, 2010
2:28 pm

World-I meant North America when I said NA. Sorry…..it never crossed my mind that it came across as non-alcholic. I wouldn’t drink a non-alcholic beer, so my mind never went there as I was typing.

I think Kokanee is around the standard 5.0-6.0 beer.

Sorry for the confusion…..it is a real beer.

World Be Free

September 15th, 2010
2:38 pm

Darkhorse-thanks for the clarify
Red Light-Ramsay defined character as a player, certainly confirmed it in the manner in which he and his family handled the horrible ordeal he went through. You wonder how long he will be able to handle the riggers of being a head coach? I think this also explains why the team made wure the secured Torch.

Bluenote

September 15th, 2010
2:57 pm

Thanks for the insight Feu Rouge….another great post that only increases my respect for Coach Ramsay.

I had a chance to chat with him a couple weeks ago and came away very impressed.
He doesn’t shrug and roll his eyes when asked a question…he looks you straight in the eye.

He’s been fired from better organizations than this one and won’t have any problem finding work if he wants it after this gig is over. There is a been there done that air of confidence about him I never sensed around JA or his goal coach.

He told a great story about the Plager brothers being very influential in his decision as a player to start wearing a helmet. Apparently they were a little ahead of him on this one and took turns bashing him into the boards headfirst and asking if he was ready after each hit. Didn’t take a real long time to change his mind. True or not, it was a great story.

You’ve gotta really enjoy every sandwich