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According to several reports, led by Pierre LeBrun at ESPN.com, Bruins’ assistant coach Craig Ramsey has been hired as the new head coach of the Atlanta Thrashers.
The 59-year-old Ramsey will head up his third NHL team in his long hockey career, with brief head coaching gigs in Buffalo (21 games in ’86-’87 season) and Philadelphia (28 games in ’00-’01) highlighting his resume. Ramsey had been serving as an assistant coach under Claude Julien for the past three seasons with Boston. He also played 14 seasons with the Buffalo Sabres.
Atlanta has gone through quite the overhaul as of late, starting months back with the deadline deal of Ilya Kovalchuk, the best player in team history, when they shipped him to New Jersey for their ill-fated playoff run. Since then, the Thrashers have hired a new GM, Rick Dudley, who took over duties from long-time GM Don Waddell, who now serves as the team president, similar to the role just given to Cam Neely in the Boston front office.
The Thrashers roster had a major shake up this week as well, as Atlanta entered into a rather big trade with Chicago on Wednesday, sending forwards Marty Reasoner and Joey Crabb, prospect Jeremy Morin, and the two draft choices acquired from the Devils in the Kovalchuk deal to the ‘Hawks in exchange for Cup champions Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager, Brent Sopel, and prospect Akim Aliu.
Now, the new-look Thrashers have their new bench boss in tow, hoping that Ramsey’s defensive-minded style with pay dividends quickly for a Thrashers team desperate to hold on to and build up their struggling fan base.
From a Bruins standpoint, it is likely that Boston’s other assistant coach Doug Houda, who has been perched in the press box during games, will be brought down to ice level to serve as Julien’s right-hand man going forward. The Bruins will begin the search for another assistant after this weekend’s NHL draft is complete.