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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.

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?