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Moving on from Atlanta: Dudley joins Maple Leafs staff, Ramsay talks with Babcock

While the hockey world should be happy that Winnipeg is getting their Jets back, many people associated with the Atlanta Thrashers days fell victim to the changes. The first group is the most obvious: Thrashers fans. Beyond the fans, there are two people who seemed to have the worst luck: former GM Rick Dudley and former head coach Craig Ramsay.

Dudley and Ramsay lost their jobs after just one (largely promising) season at the helm with the Thrashers franchise. Sports and life are frequently unfair, but those firings seemed especially cruel.

On the bright side, it seems like both parties might be able to pick up the pieces.

The Toronto Maple Leafs added Dudley to their significant pool of assistant general managers today. Dudley won’t be the only former GM in an assistant role in Toronto; former Vancouver Canucks GM Dave Nonis also has top-level experience. Dudley’s specific role is unknown at this time, but Leafs GM Brian Burke told the Toronto Star that Dudley is a “premier talent evaluator” and that he has been hoping to work with him for 15 years.

Dudley officially earned a new job, but the news regarding Ramsay is far more anecdotal. Ken Campbell of The Hockey News reports that Ramsay and Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock were “huddled at a table” in Minnesota on Thursday during “what looked very much like a job interview.”

Babcock was quick to turn down any rumors that the Red Wings are on the verge of hiring Ramsay.

But Babcock said later that was not the case and Ramsay will not be joining the Red Wings staff as an assistant.

“I’ve talked to a lot of people, but I’m not close to making a decision,” Babcock said. “If you wrote that (Ramsay would be offered a job), you would be wrong.”

There has been speculation Babcock, who has been given the full power to hire his own assistants by GM Ken Holland, already offered a job to Ken Hitchcock, but was turned down.

Ramsay helped the Thrashers overachieve through the first half of the 2010-11 season before the group sputtered out of the playoffs in the second half. Considering the young and somewhat limited roster in front of him, it seems safe to say that Ramsay deserves a nice job somewhere. We’ll have to wait and see if that place will be Detroit, though.

Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

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For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”

They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:

  • Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
  • This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
  • By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.

Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).

Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.

Blackhawks fall to Ducks in OT, lose Hossa to injury

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The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.

(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)

Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)

You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:

It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.

Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:

Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).

Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.

You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.

The pain goes beyond that … literally so.

For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.

(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)

The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.

Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.

Fractured jaw from fight sidelines Chris Stewart for 4-8 weeks

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It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.

The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).

The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.

One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.