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LEADING BY EXAMPLE

Flames captain nominated for prestigious Mark Messier Leadership Award

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / calgaryflames.com

No different than any red-blooded hockey fan over two generations, Mark Giordano can instantly conjure up a cameo-keepsake Messier moment.

"That's easy. The hat-trick in Game 6 against the Devils after he said: 'We will win tonight','' reminisces the Flames' linchpin defenceman. "That got so much attention.

"He says that, then he backs it up. And then they win the Cup. Spectacular."

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MARK OF A WINNER

Jankowski's play has been a big reason Heat made the playoffs and now look to win their opening-round series

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / calgaryflames.com

Mark Jankowski, in control.

Of his game. Of his progress. Of his future.

And maybe, just maybe, of this series.

"It's gonna be fun,'' he predicts on a lovely, 70-degree Fahrenheit day in Stockton, Calif. "Our first home playoff game. We're coming back with a split. 

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GREAT PLACE TO PLAY

Pending Flames UFAs talk about desire to remain with club

by AARON VICKERS @aavickers / calgaryflames.com

There's no place like home.

Just ask Chad Johnson.

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REASON TO SMILE

Lazar has high hopes for next season

by AARON VICKERS @aavickers / calgaryflames.com

Unusual it is, to see such a beaming grin on a day so dampened.

The Flames ousted.

Final exit meetings and media availability underway.

A garbage bag over the shoulder and gone for the summer.

But Friday's final gathering gave Curtis Lazar plenty of optimism moving forward.

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GAUDREAU NOMINATED FOR LADY BYNG

But don't worry, the Flames left-winger won't be heading to the ceremony sans shoes

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / calgaryflames.com

Don't fret, fashionistas.

"I don't even own a pair of red socks,'' reports Johnny Gaudreau.

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SAM'S ANTICS

Youngster's amped-up play in post-season turned a lot of heads

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / CalgaryFlames.com

In barbering, banking or bee-keeping, hearing yourself described as "a snarly SOB" by the boss isn't usually considered the quickest path to career advancement.

In Sam Bennett's particular line of work, however, a higher compliment can be paid no employee.

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THE JOHNNY AND MONY SHOW: LEARNING EXPERIENCES

Flames' Dynamic Duo can take a lot from this season

by AARON VICKERS @aavickers / calgaryflames.com

The curve was bigger this season.

No, not on the stick of Sean Monahan.

Nor the 55-flex twig Johnny Gaudreau uses.

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FUEL FOR THE FIRE

Flames can use early playoff exit as motivation next season

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / calgaryflames.com

Not resigned to an unhappy fate. No, that wasn't it.

Not down. Nor demoralized.

Not by a long shot.

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QUOTABLES - 21.04.17

A rundown on what was discussed during Friday's exit interviews

by ALEX MEDINA @alex_medina5 / CalgaryFlames.com

On the 2016-17 season:

"I loved my time here and it was great. Been able to come back home and play in front of friends and family was amazing for me. I can't say enough good things about this season. It didn't end the way we wanted but it was a super positive year. I was given a great opportunity, I'm proud of it and happy about it. I'd love to be in Calgary, I have my friends and family close by and that makes it great, I'd love to be home and that's really big to me. This team is really set up for good things in the future, we build off the experience we had and take it one step forward." - Kris Versteeg

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VERSTEEG HOPING TO STAY IN CALGARY

After a terrific season with the Flames, the winger would love to stay with the organization

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / CalgaryFlames.com

The nomadic experience of a professional athlete almost always involves change. Addresses, phone numbers, countries, friendships, work places, routines.

So as the years roll on, familiar faces, familiar places, come to carry a particular, impossible-to-replicate resonance.

"Being at home,'' acknowledged Kris Versteeg on garbage-bag Friday down at the Scotiabank Saddledome, "has been amazing.

"I can't properly put into words how much I've enjoyed this season.

"It's been so special.

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