Goaltender Jamie McLennan didn't expect to be traded from Calgary, but he knows that in the world of sports, it's part of the business. So as the 32-year old netminder works his way back from a sternum injury, he spoke about his new surroundings and the opportunity to prove what he can do in the Big Apple.
"Obviously to come to an original six team is pretty exciting," said McLennan, who joined the Rangers in time for Sunday's game vs. Pittsburgh at Madison Square Garden, but did not dress. "It seems that there is some change around here and they want to head in a direction where you build a group within the room, and I want to be a part of that."
A free agent following the 2003-04 season, the 6-0, 190-pound netminder has appeared in 26 games with the Flames this season, posting a 12-9-3 mark, along with a 2.20 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. McLennan was traded to New York on Saturday, along with center Blair Betts and University of Maine prospect Greg Moore in exchange for rugged left winger Chris Simon and a seventh round draft choice in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.
"I think that the situation was that in Calgary I got to play and had some success," said the Edmonton, Alberta native. "I would certainly like to come here and play. It will be a nice audition. We have 13 games left. I'd like to get a chance to get a couple of games in, and maybe earn a contract for next year."
McLennan was a popular player in the Flames dressing room and many of his former teammates were upset to see him traded, but understand that it's part of life in the National Hockey League.
"He'll be sadly missed," Flames defenseman Rhett Warrener told the Calgary Herald. "He's one of the few guys that I've played with . . . that everybody likes. It's just sad - a hard part of the business. He certainly won't be forgotten."
"He came up huge (for us). He was winning a lot of those games early on," Calgary forward Craig Conroy added. "He gave us a chance. The reason we're here right now (holding onto a playoff position) is because of him. He's such a good guy, a good person. The media doesn't get to see what kind of person he really is; that's when you really appreciate how important he is to a team."