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Flames goaltending picture clearer after Ramo waived

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- Two days after declaring he was “sick and tired of the musical chairs” involving his goaltending carousel, Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley might have a reprieve.

The Flames placed Karri Ramo on waivers on Wednesday.

“There’s not much to be said until 10 o’clock tomorrow morning,” said Hartley. “We don’t know what’s going to happen, so we’re not going to try to guess or try to invent any kind of scenarios. The scenario is the same as it was yesterday, except now we have a goalie on waivers. Let’s wait for 10 o’clock tomorrow morning.”

By then, the Flames will know whether or not the 29-year-old, who is 0-3-0 with a 4.38 goals against average and .879 save percentage, either clears waivers or is claimed. Ramo was pulled in the second period of his most recent start, a 6-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday, after allowing four goals on 18 shots.

Jonas Hiller, who has Calgary’s lone win this season and sports a 3.72 goals against average and .867 save percentage, is expected to start Friday against the Detroit Red Wings.

“They told us they put him on waivers,” Hiller said. “I found out I was playing the next game and that was the main focus. I tried to have a good practice and not worry too much about it. It’s hopefully going to bring a solution to the whole goaltending situation. It wasn’t the easiest situation.

“But at the same time, solving the goaltender issue isn’t going to solve the way we play. That’s the whole team. Everybody has to address themselves and play better. I can be an example and play as good as I can and hopefully steal one and help give the team confidence and have that confidence to play better and better every game.”

That’s not unlike what the duo accomplished at times last season.

A year ago, both Hiller and Ramo split the goaltending duties and the Flames combined for 41 wins to help Calgary to their first Stanley Cup Playoffs appearance since 2009. The duo again combined to help oust the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference First Round to win their first series since 2004.

“I think looking at last season, we’ve been supportive of both goalies,” Hartley said. “Hiller and Ramo gave us a great season. So far it has been a littler rougher, but it’s early. It’s important that we get those guys going, that’s the main thing. With good goaltending, with key saves, we’re going to be winning games just like every other team.

“We’re not putting the losses on those guys by any means. We’re a team. We win as a team and we lose as a team.”

The Flames’ struggles have been many, and for the first time in franchise history Calgary has lost four straight on home ice from the start of the season.

With a 1-5-0 record overall, the Flames sit last in both the Pacific Division and Western Conference, and 29th overall in the League -- ahead of only the winless Columbus Blue Jackets (0-7-0). Calgary’s 12 goals is 23rd best in the NHL, while their 25 goals against is 29th, again ahead of just Columbus. A goal differential of minus-13 is also 29th.

“[Ramo] took a lot of heat and obviously it looks like he’s the guy to take the fall today, but we’ve got to take it as a shot as a team too,” Flames captain Mark Giordano said. “We’ve been giving up way too many chances and leaving our goalies out there on their own. We’ve got to clean it up. It’s the situation we’re in. You’ve got to expect changes to happen when things aren’t going well. Hopefully, we’ll see what happens and [Ramo] will get another shot.”

The Flames also have goalie Joni Ortio on the roster.

He has yet to dress this season.

“It's not fun, but it's part of the business,” Ortio said. “Something happens, and there's nothing you can do about it. The only think you can control is the way you conduct yourself. I think it's still the same. Nothing has changed yet. For us, it's business as usual. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

“But, as of now, we consider it as the same situation that it was yesterday.”

Still, Ramo’s waive has Hiller’s attention.

“You try not to let it affect you, but at the same time hockey is a business,” Hiller said. “It’s not always bright and some things happen. Especially if you have a personal relationship and guys get sent down or put on waivers, those are the tough parts. You try to help each other out in those situations. I’m going to talk to Karri and help him see the positives in it. Next time it could be me, so those things make you think.

“You try to see the task at hand. Me and [Ortio] have a chance here to hopefully be the tandem for the next games. I don’t know what the plan is. I don’t know if he gets claimed, but I hope for him that he gets a chance somewhere else as a starter.”

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