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Shinkaruk ready to net full-time role with Flames

In his fourth NHL camp, forward Hunter Shinkaruk is pushing for full time gig with Calgary

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- Hunter Shinkaruk knows he can get busy watching, or get busy playing. 

He's been caught doing the former before.

In his fourth National Hockey League camp, he's only focused on the latter.

"For me it's just playing my game," said Shinkaruk, in his first September swing with the Calgary Flames after being acquired from the Vancouver Canucks last February. "You can get wrapped up too much in watching what other guys are doing. For me, I just want to worry about myself.

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Higgins hopes experience can help net contract

Chris Higgins is out prove he's a good fit for the Flames

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- It's unfamiliar territory for Chris Higgins.

Sure, he's at a National Hockey League training camp for the 14th time in his career.

But breaking in with the Calgary Flames this fall is the first time the Smithtown, NY native is working without a net.

Higgins, an unrestricted free agent, is camping without a contract.

"It is different, but I've never approached a camp as if I'm expecting to make the team," said Higgins. "If you don't play well they'll get rid of you. You've seen that 'x' number of times. It happens. If you don't play well they're going to get rid of you.

"It's the same case for me right now."

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Injured Backlund returning to Calgary

Flames forward Mikael Backlund is cutting his World Cup short and heading to Calgary to rehab his injury

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- Team Sweden will continue on at the World Cup of Hockey 2016 in Toronto, but they'll do so without Calgary Flames forward Mikael Backlund.  

Backlund will return to Calgary on Saturday after sustaining a concussion in a tournament game against Team Finland on Tuesday.

"He's on his way back," Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said. "We don't expect him to be on the ice tomorrow. He'll be evaluated with our guys and get with our group. I know Sweden announced he's out. He's flying back to Calgary. He'll be here tonight, I believe. We'll get our guys to evaluate him and see where he's at."

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Elliott ready to shoulder the load in Calgary

by George Johnson @GeorgejohnsonCH / CalgaryFlames.com

Sorting through the debris field, sifting through the rubble, of a season gone wrong. That's how last spring was spent hereabouts.

Fairly or not, in the post-apocalyptic autopsying of 2015-2016, the goaltending trident of Karri Ramo, Jonas Hiller and Joni Ortio absorbed a double-barrelled brunt of the blame blast.

 Withering scrutiny is part and parcel with the job, naturally.

No grey areas exist with goalies.

When things go swimmingly, expect a confetti shower. When things flag, brace yourself to be blamed for all the ills of the world:

Pesitilence. Famine. Drought. Plague. Inflation. The inexplicable rise of Donald Trump. The Brangelina break-up.

You name it.

Cue Brian Elliott, acquired from the St. Louis with much fanfare to help the Calgary Flames reach the gates of prosperity once more.

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World Cup Schedule: Sept. 24

Canada takes on Russia in Saturday's semi-final

by Torie Peterson @ToriePeterson / CalgaryFlames.com

CANADA VS. RUSSIA AT 5:00 PM MT - CBC

Another chapter in the historic rivalry between Canada and Russia will be written tonight when the two nations face off in the first semi-final match-up at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Canada has been positively dominant at the tournament, winning all three of their round robin games and outscoring their opponents 14-3 in the process. 

Jonathan Toews leads the tournament in scoring with three goals and four points. His teammates Matt Duchene and Sidney Crosby trail him with two goals and four points.

Carey Price leads all World Cup goaltenders with a 2-0 record, 1.00 GAA and a .968 save percentage. He is expected to start against the Russians.

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Nerves skip by Tkachuk in first skate with Flames

Matthew Tkachuk took his first spin on Saddledome ice Friday at Flames camp

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- Matthew Tkachuk is no stranger to an NHL dressing room. 

But wide eyes are understandable, at least a touch, when it's his NHL dressing room.

The Calgary Flames dressing room.

Leading to Scotiabank Saddledome ice, what could be his home ice, for the first time as on-ice sessions got underway with the Flames on Friday.

"I was (nervous) last night when I was about to go to bed," Tkachuk said. 

"I was wondering what tomorrow was going to be like the first day. I thought it went really well today. Once you get on the ice and you're shooting around and doing flow drills or just skating and shooting everything is blocked out."

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Brouwer/Bennett duo set for a test run at camp

Glen Gulutzan likes the dynamics one brings to the other and plans on leaving tutor and pupil alone for a while to work on a rapport

by George Johnson @GeorgejohnsonCH / CalgaryFlames.com

The ongoing evolution of Sam Bennett, his growing comfort level within the framework of the Calgary Flames, was illustrated Friday afternoon in response to a question regarding his familiarity with rookie Matthew Tkachuk.

"I don't know him that well,'' admitted Bennett, in full interview mode. "I talked to him a little bit today. He seems like a good kid …"

A good … kid?

Kid?

Bennett, need anyone be reminded, is a freshly-minted 20 years old.

"Did I?" he stammered sheepishly. "I didn't. I did?"

Ah, the impetuosity of youth.

"Well, he is two years younger than me."

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Elliott has shooters seeing red

Flames goaltender Brian Elliott hit the ice Friday sporting bright red blocker, catcher and pads

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- Brian Elliott expects his new CCM setup will leave opposing shooters seeing red. 

Literally.

And, he hopes, figuratively.

After sporting a solid blue Bauer setup as a member of the St. Louis Blues, the 31-year-old opted to go to a similar route for his Calgary Flames setup this season.

"You think about it all the time," Elliott said.

"I felt good in the solid colour and I just wanted to keep it going."

It seemed to work, after all.

Elliott went 23-8-2 with a 2.07 goals against average and a .930 save percentage last year in a season that saw him switch to his Curtis Joseph-esque setup midseason, and saw no reason why red couldn't be his colour of choice for 2016-17. 

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Free agent invites to get long look at camp

A handful of players on PTO's at Flames camp have a good opportunity to earn a contract

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- They're not here to take up space or skate a courtesy lap.  

Or serve as a workaround on any perceived veteran minimum.

If you're present, you have a shot.

Contract or not.

And it will help fuel a competitive training camp for the Calgary Flames.

"There's spots," declared Flames general manager Brad Treliving.

"We've purposely kept a couple spots open because as an organization, how you get better is when you legitimately have a bottom push. When you have a push from within your organization of people, younger people or people in the minors system are pushing for jobs…now you're starting to get there.

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Gulutzan focused on fostering team unity

Glen Gulutzan is putting emphasis on creating a tight-knit team culture in his first season behind the bench with the Flames

by George Johnson @GeorgejohnsonCH / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- As the curtain begins to rise and a new dawn beckons, Glen Gulutzan, the man now entrusted with the keys to the Calgary Flames' kingdom, is asking his recruits to channel their inner Alexandre Dumas:

All for one and one for all; united we stand, divided we fall.

Young Mouseketeers and older Musketeers alike.

"Everything,'' promises Gulutzan, "is going to be about making 'us' better. About what 'we' do.

"About being a team, a unit.

"I'm sure that if you ask most of these players about their hockey experiences, at whatever level, they'll tell you the tighter the group they played on, the better that team played.

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