LIGHTNING ASSOCIATE COACH CRAIG RAMSAY RELIEVED OF HIS DUTIES
“The relationship between a head coach in the National Hockey League and his staff is one of the most complex and fascinating in all of professional sports. During the nine or, hopefully 10, months of the season the coaching staff spends more time together and interacts together more frequently and with more intensity and emotion than the coaches get to see and interact with their own families. Staff members not only support one another and the head coach but also question, challenge and push each other and the head coach to be the best they can be and do what is best for the team. Our coaching staff demonstrated that in its purest form during our Stanley Cup run in 2004.
“Coming out of the lockout, and having not been together as a staff for an entire season, I sensed we had lost some of the cohesiveness we had always enjoyed as both a coaching and management group. It was nothing dramatic but rather a concern I had about us not being as tight as we had been when we were climbing the Stanley Cup mountain together.
“At the end of last season, (2005-06) John Tortorella and I met to discuss this, and beginning at the NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver last summer we had a series of staff, as well as individual, meetings to try to reconnect and recapture the closeness we once had as a group.
“Over the course of this past season (2006-07) it became apparent to me, and to John, that we still had some fundamental philosophical differences between our head coach and our associate coach on a number of issues. After having a series of meetings with various members of the organization, we have regretfully, yet necessarily, chosen to make a change in the coaching staff effective immediately.
“Associate coach Craig Ramsay has been relieved of his coaching duties with the Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey Club. We thank Craig for his seven years of service to this franchise and for his hard work and dedication in helping us become Stanley Cup Champions. Rammer will always be a part of the Lightning family as a member of that Stanley Cup Championship team. So many players have benefited from Rammer’s guidance and wisdom over the years, and he will be deeply missed by all of us. Rammer is a great person and a tremendous hockey man, and we wish him every continued personal and professional success.
“Head coach John Tortorella has begun the process of identifying and interviewing coaching candidates to serve as his top assistant. No timetable has been placed on filling the position. Once we have a new assistant coach in place we will advise you further.”
In his seven years in Tampa Bay, Ramsay helped lead the Lightning to four consecutive Stanley Cup Playoff appearances, two Southeast Division titles and a Stanley Cup while focusing on the defense and special teams. Ramsay joined the Lightning as associate coach during the 2000-01 season and brought nearly three decades of NHL experience with him to the team.