Flames hook ex-goalie

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:18 AM ET

Technically, Jamie McLennan is still under suspension.

Of course, that won't stop the former goaltender from performing in his new roles as a pro scout and the Calgary Flames' director of goaltender development.

"I didn't even think of that," laughed the 37-year-old who last played for the Flames in Game 5 of a first round playoff series against the Detroit Red Wings in 2007.

That's when he earned a five-game sentence for whacking Johan Franzen across the midsection with his goal stick. The Wings won the next game to clinch the series.

"The league sent me to Russia and Japan for a year, so I'm back now," added McLennan, who had a brief stint in Russia and then capped off his career in Japan this spring.

His return to the Flames was in the works for a while.

The team also announced Duane Sutter (Flames GM Darryl Sutter's brother) will be the new director of player personnel after 11 years with the Florida Panthers -- the last five as their director of player development.

"The people who know me, they know how much I love hockey. I know that I'll always be in hockey in some capacity," said McLennan from his home in St. Albert.

"I was fortunate to play it, but I've always been a huge fan of it, too.

"I was hoping when my career ended that there were opportunities.

"I do have some friends in the business, but for a guy like Darryl, and Ken King, and (head coach) Mike (Keenan), to be involved with those guys, you couldn't ask for a better start."

Unsure exactly what his new job entails, McLennan got a vote of confidence from his buddy Jarome Iginla yesterday.

"I think we're lucky to get him, because I imagine he had a lot of opportunities with organizations he's played with because he's very respected in the game," said the Flames captain.

"You knew he'd have a job in the league."

McLennan has always been a strong dressing room presence, able to help his teammates find a balance between intensity and having fun. He'd be a great influence on the many young goaltenders the organization has coming up through the minors.

"What Darryl wants me to do, I'll do, whether it's going to Quad Cities to help some goalies, or go to watch some teams, or come to Calgary to help out," he said.

"Whatever he has in store for me, I welcome it. It's a big challenge for me. You're starting over.

"I'm 37 years old and all I've done since I was five years old was play hockey.

"Now I'm in hockey, but it's in a different capacity. It's exciting, but I've got a lot to learn."

His learning will likely begin at the development camp starting later this month. McLennan will be like a rookie among the rookies.

As for his retirement as an NHL player ...

"Honestly, I don't even know," he said of the process.

"I'm sure the league thinks I retired three years ago -- other than the suspension."


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