Atlanta Thrashers sign Jim Slater, interview Craig Ramsay for coaching job

slaterfight.jpgThere’s good news and bad news for the Atlanta Thrashers as they enter the first off-season of the post-Ilya Kovalchuk era. The glass half-full side will point to their $31 million-plus in cap space and handful of decent young players such as Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian. On the other hand, the team has as many questions as answers.

The Thrashers answered one of their smaller questions today, as they signed 2002 first round pick Jim Slater to a two-year contract. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shared the news.

The forward, one of 10 Thrashers scheduled to become unrestricted free agents, agreed to terms on a two-year contract worth $2 million Tuesday. The deal will pay Slater $900,000 next season and $1.1 million in 2011-12.

Slater, 27, scored a career-high 11 goals last season. He appeared in 61 games after being a healthy scratch for much of the early season. He was awarded the team’s Dan Synder Memorial Trophy and the Community Service Award following the season.

The team may also be close to finding its next head coach after letting John Anderson walk after the 2009-10 season. Chris Vivlamore reports that the team sat down with Boston Bruins assistant coach Craig Ramsay, the third candidate they’ve taken a look at after interviewing recently announced Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Scott Arniel and Don Lever of the Chicago Wolves.

Dudley and Ramsay have a history. They played together for three seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, even skating on the same line at times. Later at Tampa Bay when he was GM, Dudley hired Ramsay as associate head coach to work with John Tortorella. Dudley considers him the best hire of his career.

“I was very proud of that,” Dudley said. ” … The truth is John Tortorella is a volatile guy. He needed an intelligent guy to come in and know what his role had to be. We didn’t need another volatile guy in there. Craig softened all the blows there. When John undressed somebody, he would go and make them feel good again. He knew that was his role and he did it really well.”

Ramsay has served as head coach of the Sabres (1986-87) and the Philadelphia Flyers (2000-01). After six seasons with the Lightning, including a Stanley Cup title in 2003-04, Ramsay has been an assistant with the Bruins since 2007.

“All [the candidates are] very good in their own way,” Dudley said.

Vivlamore reports that the Thrashers may also consider Chicago Blackhawks assistant John Torcetti, who’s obviously pretty busy right now with that whole “Stanley Cup finals” thing. We’ll keep you up to date as NHL teams start filling out their rosters – from the bench on out.

Scroll Down For:

    Ready to Roll: Oilers activate Schultz from IR, send down Reinhart

    Justin Schultz
    Leave a comment

    The Edmonton Oilers activated defenseman Justin Schultz off injured reserve and assigned Griffin Reinhart to the minors.

    Schultz has missed the last 14 games because of a back injury, but he’ll suit up in Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    The 25-year-old has one assist and a minus-6 rating in nine games in ’15-16.

    Here’s his interview with Oilers TV from earlier today:

    Reinhart was acquired in an off-season trade with the New York Islanders this summer.

    The former fourth overall pick has no points and a minus-1 rating in 12 games with the Oilers.

    The Leafs will be without Reimer on Saturday

    James Reimer
    Leave a comment

    James Reimer (lower body) won’t be available to play in Saturday’s game against Washington.

    Reimer was injured during a team practice earlier this week and although the injury didn’t appear to be serious, it will prevent him from suiting up in at least one game.

    The Leafs originally thought that the 27-year-old would be good to go for this tilt, but head coach Mike Babcock said Reimer didn’t feel good enough to play.

    Reimer’s emerged as the go-to-guy for the Maple Leafs this season and for good reason.

    He has 7-3-4 record with a 2.07 goals-against-average and a .934 save percentage in 15 games.

    Another reason the Leafs have been counting on him so much is because Jonathan Bernier‘s been awful.

    Bernier will get another opportunity to prove himself on Saturday night, but he faces a stiff test against Alex Ovechkin and company.

    The 27-year-old has an 0-7-1 record with a 3.17 goals-against-average and a .895 save percentage in ’15-16.

    In a corresponding move, the Leafs sent defenseman Scott Harrington to the minors and recalled goalie Garret Sparks.

    Sparks was Toronto’s seventh round pick in 2011.

    The 22-year-old has an 8-2-1 record with the Toronto Marlies this season.

    War of words continues between Rangers and Bruins on Saturday


    The Rangers are getting ready for their second straight matinee game on Saturday, but head coach Alain Vigneault wasn’t done addressing yesterday’s loss to the Bruins.

    After Friday’s game, Bruins coach Claude Julien wasn’t pleased with Henrik Lundqvist‘s “acting” that led to a goalie interference penalty being called on forward Brad Marchand (above) and he let everyone know it in his postgame press conference.

    On Saturday, it was Alain Vigneault’s turn to lash out.

    “Well, (the Rangers public relations staff) filled me in a little bit on what was said after the game,” Vigneault said via the New York Daily News. “I mean it’s a little disappointing. Obviously everybody saw the knee to the head. The comments on Hank were very inappropriate. The way Hank conducts himself, on the ice, away from the rink, off the ice, the example that he sets. Who would you rather have as a son, Henrik Lundqvist or Brad Marchand? For him to say things like that about Hank, totally wrong, and probably Claude is getting a little older and needs to check his eyesight.”

    The Rangers will take on the Flyers at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.

    Dubinsky to have hearing for cross-check on Crosby


    Brandon Dubinsky and the NHL’s Department of Player Safety will have a chat about his cross-check on Sidney Crosby.

    The hearing is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, per beat reporter Aaron Portzline.

    As you can see in the above video, Dubinsky delivers a two-handed cross-check to Crosby’s neck, so the fact that he’s getting a hearing is no surprise.

    “There’s no secret. I try to play him as hard as I can,” said Dubinsky. “That being said, I don’t try and do anything dirty. I felt like my stick ride up his back a little bit. He’s kind of bent over there in front. But again, that’s not the type of player I am. I’m going to play hard, but try and play fair and play in between the whistle.”

    Crosby isn’t willing to give Dubinsky the benefit of the doubt.

    Anyone who follows the NHL knows that Dubinsky and Crosby aren’t fans of each other.

    The two have engaged in some serious battles, including this fight last February: