Craig Ramsay helped the Thrashers not finish in last place (image via oilers.nhl.com)
The Philadelphia hockey Flyers are looking for a new head coach. Every name has been brought up, from Detroit’s lantern-jawed Mike Babcock to some guy whose name looks like Giroux but isn’t Giroux. They’re even throwing the usual former Flyer coaching suspects out there. Phantoms coach Terry Murray, Iron Chef Mike Keenan, and even sheet cake John Stevens has even been mentioned in some circles. But if we’re throwing ex-Flyers coaches into the ring, where’s the love for Craig Ramsay?
Ramsay, as you might remember, was the head coach of the Flyers for 53 games over two seasons with a record of 28-20-5. Not too shabby, Craigster! He reached the conference finals in 2000. His team in ‘00-’01 went on to finish 2nd in the Atlantic. I directly attribute that to Ramsay’s influence staying with the team. It was jammed right in their souls.
Ramsay wouldn’t get another head coaching gig until 2010-11, when he coached the Atlanta Thrashers. Despite posting a near .500 record with the Thrashers, Ramsay was let go when the team made the move up north to the parkless wasteland of Winnipeg.
As an assistant coach, Ramsay has been a flat out winner. The Tampa Bay Lightning won the Cup with him behind the bench and off to the side. Vaclav “Vinchenzo” Prospal often cited rubbing Ramsay’s head before games as his special lucky charm. Zdeno Chara loved Ramsay so much during his time assisting in Boston that he gave him piggyback rides into the arena. Yes, his winnability index has hit some hard times recently, but that’s what Edmonton does to a man.
One thing stood out to me when I was researching Ramsay. Per his Wikipedia page:
Ramsay was the last player to play a full season without incurring any penalties. He did this in 1973–74, playing 78 games and recording 46 points.
I have one word to say for that stat: WOW. No penalties in 78 games? That’s the kind of man that the historically undisciplined Flyers need. Hire the Ram Man today!