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Joey Mac finds fit in Flames' lineup

Former Red Wings' backup likes his role with Calgary

Wednesday, 03.13.2013 / 9:08 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - DetroitRedWings.com
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Joey Mac finds fit in Flames\' lineup

Joey MacDonald
Goalie - CGY
RECORD: 3-4-1
GAA: 2.85 | SVP: 0.900
CALGARY – When Bob Hartley’s general manager asked him about Joey MacDonald last month, the Calgary Flames’ coach called one person to his office at Scotiabank Saddledome.

“Jay Feaster asked me what I thought about Joey Mac and for me, when you’re dealing with a goalie you have to ask teammates, especially for a backup,” Hartley said.

Hartley summoned Jiri Hudler, a teammate with MacDonald in Detroit, and before then, in Grand Rapids.

“I brought Jiri Hudler in my office and asked him about Joey,” Hartley said. “And Jiri, right away, said that he was a great guy. No hesitation. He’s a hard worker and he’s been just as Jiri told me.”

The Flames claimed MacDonald off of waivers on Feb. 11. And since then, the 33-year-old from Nova Scotia has produced a 3-4-1 record with a 2.85 goals-against average.

He isn’t scheduled to start tonight when his new team hosts his old team. But that’s OK for MacDonald, who has one career start against Detroit, a shutout victory for the New York Islanders.

“It’s always great when you’ve played in an organization for eight or nine years that you get an opportunity to play against them,” MacDonald said. “I played against them that one time with the Islanders, but we played the other night in L.A., and it was a tough game that we lost 3-1.

“I thought my game was where it has to be when you don’t play for 3-4 games, but that’s the backup’s role. You have to be ready to come in and give the team a chance to win every night.”

It’s a role that MacDonald is quite used to, having backed up Chris Osgood and Jimmy Howard in Detroit.

MacDonald always played well for the Wings. Last year, he won seven straight games and finished with an 8-5-1 record and a 2.16 GAA. But his back pain flared up last March during a game in Anaheim and he never played in a Red Wings’ uniform again.

With the off-season signing of Swedish netminder Jonas Gustavsson and the emergence of prospect Petr Mrazek, the writing was on the wall for MacDonald, who is now with his fifth NHL club in seven years.

MacDonald has been a blessing for the Flames, who have struggled to keep a healthy goalie between the pipes this season. Veteran Miikka Kiprusoff missed 13 games with a knee injury. But with a pair of minor-league netminders trying to hold down the fort in Kiprusoff’s absence, the Flames felt they needed to seek a solution outside of the organization.

Enter MacDonald, who he himself was coming off a significant lower back injury, which sidelined the veteran backup for about 11 months. But he’s gained the trust of his new team.

“Mac is the ultimate team guy,” Hartley said. “For me, I had Johan Hedberg in Atlanta and he reminds me a lot of the Moose. He gets in the net like a half an hour before practice and the Zamboni kicks him out at the end of practice.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80