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Flames tinker with crease candidates

The Flames have recalled goaltender Reto Berra and placed Joey MacDonald on waivers.

Saturday, 02.11.2013 / 3:44 PM / News
By Aaron Vickers  - CalgaryFlames.com (@aavickers)
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Flames tinker with crease candidates
The Flames have recalled goaltender Reto Berra and placed Joey MacDonald on waivers.

With Reto Berra having a pretty good start at the AHL level with Abbotsford, we felt that we had debated for a while what would be the right timing and obviously part of bringing Reto Berra was to get Joey MacDonald down and the only way to get this done was by putting him through waivers.Bob Hartley

CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames are tinkering between the pipes.

Coach Bob Hartley confirmed from Winsport’s Markin MacPhail Centre on Saturday that the Flames have placed 33-year-old goaltender Joey MacDonald on waivers and will have Reto Berra at their disposal in time for Calgary’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.

“We put Joey on waivers,” Hartley said after Saturday's optional skate. “Part of the plan right from Day 1 was to find out what our three goalies could do, especially at the NHL level.

“With Reto Berra having a pretty good start at the AHL level with Abbotsford, we felt that we had debated for a while what would be the right timing and obviously part of bringing Reto Berra was to get Joey MacDonald down and the only way to get this done was by putting him through waivers.”

MacDonald posted a 3-3-1 record with a 3.17 goals against average and .885 save percentage in seven starts with the Flames this season. He allowed four goals on 22 shots in a 4-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Friday.

If claimed, MacDonald could be leaving Calgary in the same manner in which he was acquired.

The Flames originally claimed MacDonald off waivers from the Red Wings last February. If he clears, the 33-year-old could remain with Calgary or be assigned to the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League.

Berra, who will join the Flames in Chicago, sports a 4-3-1 record with a 2.66 goals against average and .908 save percentage in nine games with the Heat.

But what Hartley likes in Berra goes well beyond numbers.

“His size, the way that he moves, I think that he has unbelievable quick legs,” he said. “Again, it’s going to be a new challenge for him. He came from Switzerland to play in the National Hockey League, so we’ll get him some starts in the very near future.”

The Flames acquired Berra’s rights along with Mark Cundari and a first round pick from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Jay Bouwmeester on April 1, 2013. Sixteen days later, Calgary signed the Swiss netminder to a one-year, entry-level deal.

Now, Berra could make his NHL debut as soon as Sunday in Chicago. Hartley didn’t rule out trying the 27-year-old against the Blackhawks.

“He’s going to be travelling today, he’s going to be joining us,” Hartley said. “I’ll sit with my partners tonight and we’ll decide who’s going to start against the Hawks tomorrow.

“We’re not saying yes, we’re not saying no. I’m going to sit with my partners either on the plane or tonight and we’re going to decide what’s best.”

Hartley could also opt to start Karri Ramo against Chicago.

In six games this season, Ramo is 2-3-1 with a 3.49 goals against average and .888 save percentage.