Joey MacDonald may not be the most popular player with Calgary Flames fans right now.
Most Flames followers want their team to play poorly the rest of the way to improve the team's chances of winning the draft lottery for the first overall choice.
But with 39 saves MacDonald played a big part in Calgary's 3-1 victory
versus the Colorado Avalanche on Monday to end a 13-game winless streak on the road and move three points ahead of the basement-dwelling Avalanche.
Players have pride and it's simply not in MacDonald's DNA to give up. The 33-year-old native of Pictou, N.S. has persevered throughout his career and he's not about to roll over at this stage.
Undrafted, all MacDonald wanted was a chance. He was given a shot in the Detroit Red Wings organization a dozen years ago because his goalie coach in junior with the Peterborough Petes, Marv Edwards, recommended MacDonald to Red Wings senior vice-president Jim Devellano.
"Nothing has ever been given to me," MacDonald said. "You have to work for everything.
"I've never thought about giving up. All I wanted was to get a shot. I got that shot in Detroit's organization. I worked my way up to the No. 3 guy behind Dominik Hasek and Chris Osgood and have tried to make the most of it."
It was a little more than a year ago that MacDonald enjoyed his finest hour as an NHLer. Red Wings No. 1 goalie Jimmy Howard broke a finger. MacDonald was summoned from the Griffins and won the final six games of Detroit's NHL record 23-game winning streak at home.
He had come a long way, considering MacDonald had to start on the bottom rung with the Toledo Storm in the ECHL in 2001. After four more years of seasoning with the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins he finally was promoted to the NHL and played eight games for the 2006-07 Red Wings.
Since then he has been a true journeyman. If a general manager had an injury in goal, MacDonald was a reliable stopgap measure.
After his initial stint with the Red Wings, MacDonald bounced to Boston to the New York Islanders to the Toronto Maple Leafs, back to the Red Wings to fill in.
This year, he went off to Calgary when goalie Miikka Kiprusoff went down with an injury. It's his eighth team in nine years.
The move to the Flames hasn't been easy on his parents, Leonard and Judy. They now have to stay up a little later to watch their son play in time zones that are anywhere from two to four hours behind the Atlantic time zone.
MacDonald is thankful they recently retired so they can stay up late. For 45 years, Leonard piloted the ferry between Pictou and different stops on Prince Edward Island. For 37 years, Judy served food and drinks to passengers.
"They're hard working people," MacDonald said. "I definitely get my work ethic and mindset from them.
"They always let me make my own decisions. They pushed me, but they didn't push me too much that I didn't like the game any more. They always had a positive outlook on everything."
So Flames fans, give the guy a break.
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