Thrashers interview Craig Ramsay (and others) for head coach

While the Atlanta Thrashers ponder what their future will hold, one part they’ll have to take care of first is their vacant head coaching position. Chris Vivlamore at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tells us that general manager Rick Dudley has spoken to one man on his hit list who could be of major interest.

The Thrashers interviewed Craig Ramsay for their vacant head coaching position over the weekend. Ramsay, currently an assistant with the Boston Bruins, is the third candidate to be interviewed by new Thrashers general manager Rick Dudley.

Last month Dudley interviewed AHL head coaches Scott Arniel, of the Manitoba Moose, and Don Lever, of the Thrashers’ minor-league affiliate Chicago Wolves. Dudley met with Arniel at the Memorial Cup and with Lever following the junior hockey tournament.

You can scratch one name off that short list already as Scott Arniel is set to become the head coach of the Blue Jackets. Don Lever is an interesting choice given his familiarity with the players in the organization. Of course, that didn’t really help out former head coach John Anderson at all as he was let go at the end of this past season.

As for Ramsay, he’s spent most of his coaching career as an assistant coach, save for one year as the Flyers head coach in 2000-2001 that ended with a first round loss in the playoffs to the Buffalo Sabres in six games, the clincher being an 8-0 blowout. Apparently, Craig Ramsay is still suffering from that humiliation because he hasn’t landed a head coaching job since then. Luckily for Ramsay, his former teammate Rick Dudley is willing to look beyond such matters at this point in life.

As for who else Dudley might be looking at, Vivlamore adds a couple more names in Blackhawks assistant John Torchetti who is a bit tied up right now with the Stanley Cup finals and Rockford Ice Hogs coach Bill Peters. What’s Dudley looking for in a head coach? Warning: Nonsensical cliché ahead.

“I was trying to throw questions that were not normal questions that they would get … and they didn’t even flinch,” Dudley said of the interviews. “If I asked them about the neutral zone and playing against a passive fore check, what would you do? They just answered like it was water off a duck’s back.”

So the Thrashers want to be like ducks or like the Anaheim Ducks or not like ducks/Ducks at all? I’m lost now.

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    After 8-1 loss to Isles, Oilers send Reinhart to AHL, make Schultz healthy scratch

    Edmonton Oilers' Justin Schultz (19) and New York Rangers' Dominic Moore (28) fight for control of the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
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    Not surprisingly, Edmonton’s 8-1 loss to the Islanders on Sunday didn’t pass without consequences.

    The Oilers announced this morning that defenseman Griffin Reinhart had been sent down to the AHL. Additionally, defenseman Justin Schultz is expected to be a healthy scratch tonight in New Jersey.

    Reinhart was a team-worst minus-4 versus the Isles.

    Schultz, whose name has been coming up in trade rumors…

    …was a minus-2.

    “He needs to watch a game and reflect on his play and what his impact is offensively and defensively,” coach Todd McLellan told reporters of the decision to sit Schultz against the Devils.

    Darnell Nurse and Adam Clendening, scratches in Brooklyn, will replace Reinhart and Schultz in the lineup.

    Turris understands Drouin’s situation, says requesting trade out of Phoenix ‘saved’ him

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    Kyle Turris was far from an accomplished NHLer when he requested a trade out of the Coyotes organization. In fact, when he was dealt to the Senators in 2011, the third overall pick in the 2007 draft had just 46 points in 137 NHL games.

    Since then, Turris has emerged as Ottawa’s top center, with the promise of a big payday in the summer of 2018 when his current $17.5 million deal expires and he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

    It’s for that very reason that he can understand Jonathan Drouin‘s position with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    “It’s tough,” Turris told the Tampa Bay Times. “Everyone has mixed feelings, and especially not being an established player. Then people are doubting that you’re doing the right thing, you really have to have confidence in yourself and your ability to do it.”

    Though Turris, now 26, took a “lot of heat from the media…and people within the organization” and recalls the time after his trade request was made public as a “tough, tough go,” he believes the opportunity he received with the Sens “saved” him.

    As we’ve written in the past, you don’t have to agree with how Drouin is handling things — maybe it ends up hurting him; he still has a lot to prove — but there have been young players who have chosen similar paths, and it’s worked out well for them.

    Drouin, by the way, has 40 points in 89 NHL games.

    Simmonds tells AV ‘I’m not a dirty player,’ says he had ‘no intention of hurting’ McDonagh with punch

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    Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds has taken exception to criticisms from Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault, in the wake of Simmonds concussing Blueshirts captain Ryan McDonagh with a punch over the weekend.

    “Vigneault can say whatever he wants. He’s the coach, that’s his opinion,” Simmonds said, per CSN Philly. “I don’t really care. I’m protecting myself; guy comes to cross check you in the head. I didn’t know what he expected. I had no intention of hurting him and I feel bad about that. That’s not what I want.

    “I may play physical and I like to take the body. I fight occasionally. But by no means am I a dirty player, trying to run around and injure guys.”

    Simmonds was tossed from Saturday’s game after punching McDonagh, but wasn’t suspended by the league. McDonagh missed New York’s next game — Monday’s 2-1 win over the Devils — and the lack of supplemental discipline incident irked Vigneault, who had words for both the officials and Simmonds.

    “An All-Star player gets sucker-punched, goes down,” Vigneault said following the Flyers game, per The Record. “I wonder if that’s (Sidney) Crosby, what happens? What are the consequences?”

    At this point, it’s probably worth noting the Flyers and Rangers play each other on Sunday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

    Worth circling that one on the ol’ calendar, methinks.

    Goalie nods: ‘The losses have gotten to’ Dubnyk, so Wild turn to Kuemper

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    Devan Dubnyk has started Minnesota’s last four games — all of them losses — so in an effort to try and right the ship, head coach Mike Yeo is going with Darcy Kuemper against Dallas this evening.

    “This has definitely not been Dubnyk’s fault,” Yeo said of the Wild’s losing skid, per the Pioneer Press. “Even watching his game and evaluating it closely afterwards, I’m not going to say he’s playing badly. He’s not. But you can tell he’s grinding right now like everybody. The losses have gotten to him.

    “Kuemper has been part of this, but not to that level, so he’s probably got a little bit of a different mindset and a little bit of a fresher mind coming into the game.”

    Kuemper has been pretty solid this year, going 5-2-4 with a .928 save percentage and 2.06 GAA. That said, he’s only made four appearances in 2016 and his last was a brief one, playing just over 11 minutes in relief against the Isles.

    For Dallas, Kari Lehtonen is likely to get the start.

    Elsewhere…

    — No definitive announcements out of Boston, but Tuukka Rask is likely for the Bruins, and Jonathan Quick is likely for the Kings.

    — It’s Roberto Luongo for the Panthers in Buffalo. Sabres are going with Robin Lehner.

    Cory Schneider‘s going back-to-back for the Devils after stopping 35 shots in a loss to the Rangers on Monday. Cam Talbot starts for the Oilers.

    John Gibson is not going back-to-back after getting shelled by Pittsburgh last night. Frederik Andersen starts in Philly, Steve Mason for the Flyers.

    — Columbus will keep rolling with Joonas Korpisalo as it hosts the Islanders. Jaroslav Halak gets the nod after getting hooked against the Red Wings over the weekend.

    Ben Scrivens will look to win his third game in a row when the Habs host the Bolts. Ben Bishop‘s in for Tampa Bay.

    — Barry Trotz heads back to Nashville and will continue rolling with Braden Holtby in goal. Trotz’s former workhorse, Pekka Rinne, starts for the Preds.

    — It’s Connor Hellebuyck versus Brian Elliott as the Blues host the Jets in St. Louis.

    — Good matchup in Chicago tonight, as the in-form Corey Crawford starts for the ‘Hawks. The Sharks will counter with Martin Jones.

    — After Ryan Miller started the last four, Jacob Markstrom goes for the Canucks in Colorado. The Avs are starting Semyon Varlamov.

    — Fresh off today’s blockbuster Dion Phaneuf trade, the undermanned Leafs are going with James Reimer in goal in Calgary. The Flames will give Jonas Hiller another start after he beat Vancouver on Saturday night.