One day after Mike Cammalleri made disparaging remarks about the current status of the Montreal Canadiens, the team decided to part ways with the veteran forward.
On Thursday night, Montreal traded Cammalleri, as well as goaltender Karri Ramo and fifth round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft to the Calgary Flames for forwards Rene Bourque, Patrick Holland a second round pick in 2013.
Cammalleri was pulled out of Thursday's game against the Boston Bruins after the second period and sent back to the hotel amid reports of the potential trade.
"Usually you see [guys traded] before games, after a pre-game skate, after games you kind of see guys pulled off a plane or bus, but that's the first time I've seen it during a game. So it was a unique circumstance for sure," said Cammalleri.
"We're in the business of performing and winning and our team wasn't where we wanted it to be this year. I think we've all expressed our displeasure with that. So you do the math and you say people are going to move. Coaches were moved and the next step is players," he added.
The sudden move came after Cammalleri's comments on Wednesday when he said he was tired of the team's losing attitude.
"We prepare for our games like losers. We play like losers. So it's no wonder why we lose," Cammalleri said Wednesday in response to questions about the struggles of the Canadiens.
In a media conference after the trade, Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier suggested the motivation behind the trade wasn't Cammalleri's recent comments, but instead a desire to get bigger up front.
"One of the reasons that it would improve the club is that we need to score harder goals, we need to score the goals that are not the fancy ones and are not the outside shots. The outside shots don't go in anymore. It's the second chances, the third chances, the rebounds, the screen shots, the tip ins and the stats show it very clearly," said Gauthier.
"That's why Mr. Bourque is a very attractive player to us because he scores most of his goals from those areas," he added.
Bourque, who is currently serving a five-game suspension for an elbow to the head of Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom, has 13 goals and 16 points in 38 games this year. The 30-year-old winger has posted 27 goals in each of the last two seasons with Calgary.
This will be Cammalleri's second stint with the Flames after racking up a career highs in goals (39) and points (82) during the 2008-09 campaign.
"Getting traded is never something you look forward to, but I have fond memories of playing in Calagary," stated Cammalleri. "I really enjoyed my time there and I have some very good friendships in Calgary."
This season, Cammalleri has nine goals and 13 assists for 22 points in 37 games.
“Mike Cammalleri is a dynamic player who enjoyed great success playing in Calgary,” Flames general manager Jay Feaster said in a statement. “We believe Cammalleri will help our offensive production, solidify a second scoring line, bolster our power play, and bring another strong veteran voice to our room. We are confident that a return to Calgary will be good for Mike and good for our continued pursuit of a playoff berth.”
Joining Cammalleri in Calgary will be Ramo, a native of Asikkala, Finland, who has spent the last three seasons with Omsk Avangard in the Russian KHL. He was originally drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the sixth round of the 2004 NHL Draft.