The BankAtlantic Center will host a rather strange reunion tonight as the Panthers take on the Winnipeg Jets.
Florida assistant Craig Ramsay — who coached the Thrashers in their final season of existence — will face his former organization for the first time since being relieved of his duties.
“In all honesty, now, since I’ve bounced around from one team to another, I have a whole bunch of those teams where you have special meaning for the game and you have to try to set that aside,” Ramsay told NHL.com. “I’d like to say there’s no extra emotion, but there is… There is emotion there, but I really try not to let it affect the way I do my job and what I have to accomplish.”
Relieving Ramsay of his duties was a low point in Winnipeg’s otherwise blissful summer — lost amidst the good vibes and excitement was the fact that Ramsay had been blindsided by the move. In his lone year with Atlanta, he’d taken the team to its four-highest ever point total and had the Thrashers atop the Southeast Division halfway through the year. “I have to admit it was quite a bit of a shock when it started to transpire when I first heard that maybe we were going to be the team to go to Winnipeg,” he said. “My wife and daughter got on the Internet to check out rentals, assuming we’d be part of the package, and we’d be heading north.”
Instead, the Jets cleaned house and replaced both Ramsay and Thrashers GM Rick Dudley with Claude Noel and Kevin Cheveldayoff. By all accounts, it wasn’t the cleanest of executions — the South Florida Sun-Sentinel said Winnipeg left Ramsay “dangling for several weeks” before informing him he wouldn’t be retained.
Things have worked out for Ramsay to a certain degree. While he’s now an assistant rather than a head coach (serving under Kevin Dineen with the Panthers), Florida’s gotten off to a far better start than the Jets have under Ramsay’s replacement, Claude Noel. The Panthers are 6-4-0 heading into tonight’s action, just two points back of Southeast Division leaders Washington.
And perhaps of equal importance, five points up on last-place Winnipeg.
Ray Emery has agreed to join the Ontario Reign on a professional tryout, according to a team release.
The Reign are the minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings.
Emery attended Tampa Bay’s training camp on a PTO, but he was released after the team claimed Kevin Poulin on waivers from the Islanders.
The 33-year-old had a 10-11-7 record with a 3.06 goals-against-average and a .894 save percentage in 31 games with the Flyers last season.
Even with starter Jonathan Quick struggling, it’s hard to envision this move leading to a return to the NHL for Emery.
The Kings have Quick and Jhonas Enroth with the big club, while veteran Peter Budaj was signed to a two-way contract on Friday.
James Reimer will get his first start of the 2015-16 season on Saturday night against Ottawa.
Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock made it clear from the beginning that Jonathan Bernier was going to start on Wednesday against Montreal and Friday in Detroit, while Reimer would get in against the Sens.
“I’ve known this for a long time that (Bernier is) starting and he’s starting on Wednesday and he’s starting on Friday. Reims is starting on Saturday,” Babcock said before the season began.
Things haven’t gone according to plan for Toronto through two games.
Not only have they lost both contests, but Bernier was pulled in yesterday’s 4-0 loss to the Red Wings, and the team has scored only one goal this season.
Reimer, who stopped 12 of 13 shots in just under 40 minutes of action against Detroit, will go up against Craig Anderson.
–Cam Talbot will try to get his first win as an Oiler as they travel to Nashville to take on the Predators. Pekka Rinne will start for the Predators.
–Carey Price and Tuukka Rask will face-off when the Canadiens and Bruins renew hostilities at the TD Garden in Boston.
–Petr Mrazek will be between the pipes when the Red Wings take on the ‘Canes in Carolina. Cam Ward gets the nod for the Hurricanes.
–Keith Kinkaid for the Devils. Braden Holtby makes his first start of the year in the Capitals’ season opener.
–Steve Mason for the Flyers. Roberto Luongo for the Panthers in their opener.
-Columbus hasn’t confirmed who their starter will be in the back half of their home-and-home with the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist will start for New York.
–Jake Allen makes his first start of the regular season for St. Louis. Devan Dubnyk for the Wild.
-The Islanders have yet to confirm their starter for tonight’s game in Chicago. Scott Darling for the ‘Hawks after Corey Crawford helped spoil the party in Brooklyn yesterday.
–Antti Niemi gets the call for Dallas after he blanked the Penguins in his first start. Semyon Varlamov for Colorado.
–Jonas Hiller for Calgary. Ryan Miller for the Canucks.
-The Penguins haven’t confirmed who their starter will be in Arizona tonight. Mike Smith will likely play in back-to-back games after beating the Kings on Friday.
-The Ducks have yet to confirm their starter. Martin Jones will start for San Jose.