January 12, 2012
Cammalleri sent back to FlamesBourque shipped to Montreal
By STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency
CALGARY - Heading down the stairs at the Saddledome as the first period was winding down, it was apparent the news had travelled quickly.
One woman screamed with glee, 'We got Cammy back!' just seconds after the official word broke online.
When it was announced Michael Cammalleri was traded back to the Calgary Flames during a break in play, the place erupted with excitement.
But the deal that sent Rene Bourque to the Montreal Canadiens -- along with unsigned 2010 seventh-round pick Patrick Holland and the Flames' second-rounder in 2013 -- and brought the former fan favourite back to the Stampede City wasn't just a quick reaction by Flames GM Jay Feaster after Cammalleri fell out of favour in Montreal with his controversial comments this week, suggesting the Habs prepared and played "like losers."
"It's actually been percolating for some time. We've been having a lot of conversations," Feaster said Thursday night during the first intermission of a suddenly less-than-interesting game against the Anaheim Ducks.
"When Bourquie was suspended this most recent time, I thought there was no sense in trying to advance it any further while he was on the suspended list.
"Last night, Pierre (Habs GM Pierre Gauthier) phoned and asked if we were still interested."
Cammalleri put up a career-best 39 goals and 82 points in 2008-09, his only season with the Flames.
So talks started up again Thursday, with the deal getting done late in the afternoon. Cammalleri was pulled off the ice before the third period in Boston following the league's official stamp.
Feaster got to speak briefly with his new acquisition. As part of the deal, the Flames also received goalie Karri Ramo and a fifth-round pick this summer.
"When I said who was calling, the first words out of his mouth were, 'What are we, four points back?'" Feaster relayed.
Cammalleri already knew the Flames were playing the Los Angeles Kings next Saturday night on Hockey Night in Canada.
"He told me, 'I can't wait to get there.'"
The Flames can't wait to have him.
"We think he's a dynamic player. He's a player who's had success here. He's a guy who's familiar with a lot of the guys in that room," said Feaster, who picked up a US$6-million salary cap hit for the next two years.
"If we're going to make a run here in the second half, we need the powerplay to be very good.
"From our perspective, he's a guy who needs a change of scenery right now."
While the comments from Cammalleri landed him in hot water over in Montreal, Feaster would welcome that kind of emotional outpouring.
"Whether that was something that prompted it, I don't know, from Pierre's standpoint," Feaster said when asked if the controversy is what ultimately got the deal done.
"I think he was a frustrated hockey player, the way things were going for both himself and the team. It's a difficult situation. We all have seen situations where guys sign that big contract and the expectations are a certain way. It's a marketplace that's very demanding. I think it was a guy who was just frustrated and sounded off a little bit. I'm sure in retrospect, as he thinks about it, he may think that he might have chosen a better way to do that.
"And yet I have to tell ya, for me to hear the passion and the emotion and the enthusiasm that he had when I called him, if that's the corolary to it, that every once in a while he's going to pop off and stir the pot and maybe get some people with their nose out of joint, I'll take that.
"That's what I want -- I want that passion, I want that emotion. I think that's something we need in our locker-room. I think it's something we need on the bench.
"We need somebody who's emotional and passionate."
They get that in Cammalleri, and renewed some of that in the fans, too.
On Twitter: @SUNMacfarlane