MacDonald’s extension gives Flames steadying presence in net for next season
Veteran pleased to have new $925,000 contract done nice and early
On the day he signed a new contract, on the day he received a tidy $375,000 raise, Joey MacDonald wanted to talk about Miikka Kiprusoff.
Specifically, MacDonald wanted to put words to the privilege of sitting on the bench and watching the Saddledome crowd give Kiprusoff a two-minute standing ovation as time ticked away in a 3-1 Calgary Flames victory Friday over the Anaheim Ducks.
“It was awesome being part of that,” MacDonald raved. “The last couple of minutes almost brought tears to my eyes. It was incredible.
“He’s done a lot for this team, this organization and the fans. For the fans to do that, it’s just incredible. I’ve never been a part of something like that.”
Life just keeps presenting MacDonald with new experiences.
After years of job insecurity as an National Hockey League-American Hockey League journeyman between the pipes, MacDonald signed a one-year, one-way deal Saturday with the Flames worth $925,000 for the 2013-14 season.
Pretty impressive for waiver pickup who came to Calgary in February as an emergency replacement for an injured Kiprusoff.
“It’s nice just to have it done now,” the Pictou, N.S. native said before the Flames boarded a charter flight bound for Minnesota. “Usually, I would get to July or even the end of August before I would figure out where I was going.
“To have it done, I can prepare. I’ve got a routine. I’ve been here for two or three months. I know the coaches. I know the organization. I know the players and such.
“I’ll just be more relaxed coming in.”
On the outside, MacDonald comes across as a relaxed sort at all times, whether he’s starting or working the gate.
“It’s pretty unanimous — you ask the players, you ask the staff, the trainers the coaches — he’s a great guy,” said head coach Bob Hartley. “Plus you look at his performance. If you add his personality to his performances, then I think it makes plenty of sense that we keep him.”
Heading into action Sunday night MacDonald had cobbled together a respectable record of 7-7-1 this season with a goals-against average of 2.91 and .900 save percentage
Not bad, especially considering the state of Calgary’s porous defensive coverage.
“The game is about goaltending,” Hartley said. “Goalies can win games by themselves. They’re the only players who spend the full 60 minutes on the ice. You’re never rich enough at the goaltending position.”
“So I think what Mac has accomplished with us, he’s definitely put money in the bank.”
If Kiprusoff does indeed retire this summer, MacDonald is expected to battle for the starting job next season with KHL goalie Karri Ramo and Swiss netminder Reto Berra.
“At next training camp, what’s going to the goaltending situation?” Hartley asked, rhetorically. “I have absolutely no clue. We’ll see what Kipper’s plans are. We have Berra. We have Ramo. We have lots of goalies.
“So we’ll drop the puck, and may the two best goalies win.”
MacDonald simply smiles and shrugs at the mention of competition at training camp. The 33-year-old clearly realizes that simply comes with the job.
“I’m not quite sure who they’re going to bring in,” he said. “But you know what? That’s their decision. I’m done. I can just prepare and not change anything.
“I’ll just do like I’ve been doing this year and things will take care of themselves.”
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