Jiri Hudler

Flames ‘still don’t know’ who starting goalie will be


Calgary coach Bob Hartley knows he has three goalies — Joey MacDonald, Karri Ramo and Reto Berra — auditioning for the starting gig.

What Hartley doesn’t know is who’ll be his No. 1.

“Still don’t know,” Hartley told the Calgary Sun over the weekend. “They’ll have, basically, to prove themselves on a daily basis.”

Unlike his decision on Calgary’s captaincy — Hartley said he knew who his choice would be days before naming Mark Giordano — the goaltending choice seems to be legitimately up in the air.

MacDonald, 33, has the most NHL experience (122 career games) and appeared in 21 contests for Calgary last season. So it’s likely he’s got the inside edge.

That said, the Flames made a big financial investment in Ramo (two years, $5.5 million) after he captured back-to-back KHL All-Star nods. The Finnish netminder hasn’t played in the NHL since 2009, but was only 23 back then.

The darkhorse appears to be Berra, the 26-year-old Swiss phenom who starred in the National League A and for Team Switzerland at the 2013 Worlds.

To hear Hartley explain it, though, there’s no favorite and there’s no darkhorse. Just an open competition.

“They’re all in the same boat right now,” he explained. “I can’t say that one is ahead of the other.

“It’s a three-man battle.”


Or maybe it’s a two man battle? From Sportsnet’s Darren Millard…

Habs claim Byron off waivers from Flames

Paul Byron
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Montreal added some forward depth on Tuesday, acquiring diminutive forward Paul Byron off waivers from Calgary.

Byron, 26, is a veteran of nearly 150 career NHL games, most coming with the Flames. Despite fairly solid production over the last two years — 40 points in 104 games — he was exposed to waivers on Monday, along with fellow forward Mason Raymond.

(Calgary does have a logjam of players at forward, hence parting ways with Byron and Raymond.)

Byron can play both wing and center but, at 5-foot-7, 153 pounds, is one of the most undersized skaters in the league. Thankfully for him, Montreal has an affinity for undersized forwards, with the likes of Brendan Gallagher (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) and David Desharnais (5-foot-7, 174 pounds) already on the active roster.

Byron could also fill Zack Kassian‘s roster spot. Kassian is currently suspended without pay while undergoing Stage 2 of the NHL’s Substance Abuse program.

Isles claim goalie Berube off waivers

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jaroslav Halak
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The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.

Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.

That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.

If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.

The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.