CALGARY, AB -- The news was not good for Karri Ramo
and the Calgary Flames.
After leaving last Thursday's game against the San Jose Sharks with just 3:00 minutes remaining on the clock following a three-way collision between himself, Mark Giordano and San Jose forward Joonas Donskoi, Ramo couldn't put any weight on his left leg and was seen wearing a brace as he exited the SAP Center on crutches.
The 29-year-old knew it was bad news almost immediately but held out hope it wouldn't be a season-ending malady.
"It was pretty clear," said Ramo, who met with the media briefly on Wednesday morning. "The first diagnosis back in San Jose wasn’t good but there was still a chance I could get lucky. But now it’s clear that this season is done."
Giordano felt remorseful when he got wind that his goaltender's season was over as a result of the play he was involved in that sent Ramo to the injured reserve.
"I tripped a guy into Rams, basically," Giordano explained. "The guy had a half of a step on me and I was trying to get the puck and sort of going for the puck and tripped him and he fell into Rams.
"It sucks that he got hurt on that play but I don’t know what else you can do differently other than just let the guy go by you. It sucks that he got hurt but that’s what happened."
The guy had a half of a step on me and I was trying to get the puck and sort of going for the puck and tripped him and he fell into Rams. - Mark Giordano
The initial assessment from the Flames medical staff was not favorable but Ramo returned to Calgary where he was given an MRI on Monday only to find out the diagnosis was about as bad as he could have imagined.
"We’ve gotten the medical reports back on Karri Ramo," said Flames' general manager Brad Treliving. "As we expected, it’s not good. He has a torn ACL and some meniscus damage. He will require surgery later this week and will be lost for the remainder of the year.
"The timetable is six to eight months in terms of the rehab with that. It’s a huge loss for us, but we will get Karri looked after here and he’ll have surgery here later this week and be on the road to recovery."
The surgery to reconstruct an ACL is typically routine but the rehab can be a long, arduous process. It's many months of strengthening the leg muscles and getting the full range of motion back in the knee -- obviously a critical asset for a goaltender.
Ramo had cemented himself as the go-to guy between the pipes for Bob Hartley this season. After a shaky start, which included being put on waivers and a trip to Stockton, where he suited up for just one period of action, Ramo got his game back on track since being recalled on Oct. 29.
He worked his save-percentage up from the mid-800's to .909, where it was when he suffered the injury, but had it up to just shy of .920 at one point in January.
"A tough blow for Karri also because he’s been working so hard," Hartley said. "He bounced back from a tough start. I have no doubt in my mind that he will get back on track because he is a competitor and he’s the ultimate pro. Even in the past few days we had strong doubts that his season was over. He was on the bike and was trying to stay positive and hoped for some miracle news. Once the doctors got to us we can’t say that it was really a shock because from first looks it didn’t look very good."
His injury leaves the Flames with more crease questions than answers heading into next season as both Ramo and now starting goaltender, Jonas Hiller, have contracts that expire at the end of the season.
Joni Ortio was summoned from Stockton on Feb. 12 and will likely back up Hiller for the remainder of the season.
Kevin Poulin was acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning earlier in the season in an effort to add some depth at the goaltending position and has split time with Ortio in the AHL, appearing in 14 games and earning a 2.40 GAA and .923 save percentage.
"We have two guys here right now and with any injury, it creates opportunities for others," Treliving continued. "We’re going to go with that. We’re continually looking at ways to help our team. If that’s for now or in the future and that won’t change. Jonas and Joni are here and Poulin is down in the American League.
"We continue to see if we can help ourselves either now or for the future."
Ramo isn't sure what his future holds now that he's unable to continue an audition for another contract with the Flames or any other NHL suitor.
His immediate plans include hard work and post-surgery rehab to get himself back to where he was when he went down this season.
As for another stint in the NHL, Ramo isn't concerned about that right now.
"I don’t know that. It’s something that we still have lots of time to get into that but time will come a little bit later," he said. "We will see what is going to happen."