As soon as he heard of the crash which killed all but one member of the KHL's Lokomotiv Yaroslavl squad, Joey MacDonald immediately thought of his friends who were killed.
Lokomotiv coach Brad McCrimmon was an assistant coach the season before with the Detroit Red Wings, who MacDonald played 15 games for the previous season.
Ruslan Salei was also a teammate with the Red Wings.
Fellow goalie Stefan Liv and he were teammates in Grand Rapids back in the 2006-07 campaign.
Eventually, MacDonald had another thought.
"Someone was looking out for me," he said.
During the 2011 playoffs, a few months before the Sept. 7, 2011, disaster which took the lives of 44 people, MacDonald's agent was asked whether he'd consider playing for the Russian squad the following season.
MacDonald, his agent Michael Wulkan, and Red Wings goalie coach Jim Bedard talked about the opportunity, and seriously considered whether it was the best course of action for his career.
Bedard convinced the affable netminder not to give up on his NHL dream just yet.
"I had great communication with him and he said, 'There's no need to be going over there. You still have a lot of hockey left in you here.' Between him and my agent, we talked it over for two weeks and said it wasn't good timing, and no thanks," MacDonald said.
He re-signed with the Red Wings, inking the two-year deal he has right now while with the Flames, who claimed him off the waiver wire.
As much as you can go crazy playing the "what if?" game, MacDonald has thought about how close he came to being one of those lost.
"If I would have known Brad (McCrimmon) and Rusty (Salei) were going to be there, it probably would have been a no-brainer. I would have gone," MacDonald said.
Flames goalie pondered playing for doomed Lokomotiv team
Calgary Sun | Mar 6