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Preview: Flames vs. Canucks

The two divisional rivals face off at 7:00 PM MT

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

CANUCKS (1-0-1) @ FLAMES (1-2-0) 

TV: 7:00 PM MT; SN1, Sportsnet 960 The FAN 

Season series: The Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames are meeting for the first time this preseason. After losing both ends of a split-squad double-header against the Edmonton Oilers, the Flames beat the Winnipeg Jets 3-0 on Tuesday. The Canucks dispatched of the Oilers 5-3 on Wednesday after losing 3-2 in overtime a day prior to the San Jose Sharks. 

Canucks team scope: Vancouver's roster sits at 41 players after assigning goaltender Michael Garteig to Utica of the American Hockey League. Of those that remain with the Canucks, the likes of forwards Sven Baertschi, Markus Granlund, Emerson Etem and Alexandre Burrows, and defencemen Erik Gudbranson and Christopher Tanev are expected to see action in Calgary. Goaltender Thatcher Demko, who saw the Flames at the Young Stars Classic in Penticton, could also see some action against the Flames.

Flames team scope: Calgary has slimmed from three teams down to two after trimming their camp roster by 11 on Wednesday. Forwards Mikkell Aagard, Mike Angelidis, Matt Bailey, Jamie Devane, Brett Pollock, defencemen Stepan Falkovsky and Keegan Kanzig, and goaltender Mason McDonald were all assigned to Stockton of the AHL. Forwards Dillon Dube (Kelowna, WHL), Eetu Tuulola (Everett, WHL) and defenceman Riley Bruce (North Bay, OHL) were all returned to junior. Coach Glen Gulutzan didn't reveal who would be playing against the Canucks, but the group skating Thursday that includes the forward trio of Matthew Tkachuk, Sam Bennett and Troy Brouwer are likely against Vancouver.  

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Ferland ready for next step of his career

by George Johnson @GeorgejohnsonCH / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- The last, the only, worthwhile sample-size Glen Gulutzan has of Micheal Ferland can be traced back 16 months.

Gulutzan was then perched on the opposition bench, staring in equal parts admiration and disbelief as munitions expert Ferland gleefully set about blowing up cranky Kevin Bieksa on virtually every shift; drove all the Vancouver players either to distraction or through the woodwork while bundling the Canucks straight into the off-season.

"I thought in that series he played with just a ton of heart,'' says Gulutzan, a full season and one allegiance switch later. "I can tell you, the first game now that I've coached him, in Winnipeg (Tuesday) - guys knew he was out there.

"He was moving around and he was finishing checks.

"You talk about intimidation in this league. A lot of the fighting has gone out. We all know that. But … intimidation is becoming that guy who can fight but moreso can hit, get in on the forecheck and make people pay.

"That's new intimidation.

"And Ferly has that quality.

"I noticed it in the Winnipeg game and I noticed it in that series a year or so back."

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Backlund's recovery from concussion on track

The forward joined the team for practice on Thursday

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- Mikael Backlund would've preferred that his return to the ice featured a different city.

And another team. 

But, back with the Calgary Flames, the 27-year-old was pleased with the strides taken as he recovers from a concussion. 

"It felt good," Backlund said. "It was fun to be back out there with the boys. Everything felt good.

"We'll just take it day-by-day, see how I react to every step I take."

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Flames cautious with Monahan injury

Sean Monahan not skating at training camp is a precautionary measure

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers / NHL.com

CALGARY, AB -- Centre Sean Monahan has yet to join teammates in practice this pre-season because of a back strain, but Calgary Flames coach Glen Gulutzan isn't hitting the panic button just yet.

"It's still optimistic," Gulutzan said. "At this juncture with those types of things you'd rather be cautious rather than rush it, because then they can nag. That's the last thing we want. We want it to disappear. And that's what our mindset is … to make it go away. He's put in a lot of work. He's in good shape. It's not going to take him long. He's been involved with every meeting. He'll get up to speed quick."

Monahan sustained the injury training this off-season.

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Gulutzan ready to face off against the Canucks

On Friday, Glen Gulutzan will take on his former team for the first time since being named the Flames' head coach

by George Johnson @GeorgejohnsonCH / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- The West Coast ties haven't broken entirely. They've only been loosened.

"Vancouver,'' Glen Gulutzan is saying, "will always be special to me. I really enjoyed my time there. I still have a great caring for and understanding of the people in that organization.

"Playing the Canucks? Well, Willie (Desjardins) and I would probably say the same thing: If you've ever competed against, say, a good buddy or your brother, it's that sort of situation.

"Cards. Hoops. Ping-pong.

"Whatever.

"Man, when you start playing against someone close to you it always seems you want to beat him more than the guy you don't know, right?

"So, yeah, I'm really going to want to beat the Vancouver Canucks.

"I'm sure Willie and everyone over on that side would say the same thing about beating us."

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Flames reduce camp roster by 11

Calgary has 49 players remaining at training camp

by Calgary Flames Staff / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames announced today that they have assigned eight players to their American Hockey League affiliate, the Stockton Heat: Mikkel Aagaard (C), Mike Angelidis (C), Matt Bailey (C), Jamie Devane (LW), Stepan Falkovsky (D), Keegan Kanzig (D), Mason McDonald (G), and Brett Pollock (RW). The Flames also announced that they have assigned the following three players to their respective junior clubs: Riley Bruce (North Bay/OHL), Dillon Dube (Kelowna/WHL), and Eetu Tuulola (Everett/WHL).

Calgary has 49 players remaining at training camp (5x goalies, 17x defencemen, 27x forwards).

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Stajan not shy to lend hand to Jankowski

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- Funny, suggested Matt Stajan, how things always seem to circle back.

A fresh-faced Mark Jankowski can remember a time when his family would pile in the car and head down to the Air Canada Centre to watch the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Among those the budding minor hockey star would key in on?

Stajan.

The one helping Jankowski through his first training camp experience with the Calgary Flames.

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Chiasson hoping to ignite under Gulutzan

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- A familiar face is always comforting. 

And at this stage, there's probably none more comforting to Alex Chiasson than Calgary Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan. 

It's under the man affectionately referred to as 'Gully' that the man affectionately known as 'Chaser' had the most promising stretch of the 25-year-old's young career. 

"It's huge," Chiasson started.

"At the same time I know from talking to him that things aren't going to be handed to me, also. He knows I'm capable of being successful and in what position, whether it's 5-on-5 or power play … in those types of positions. 

"I think it's going to be up to me, when that opportunity comes, to show what I'm capable of doing. I know it's really important for a player to gain the trust of the coaching staff, and also the coaching staff to trust the player."

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Kulak's two-goal effort fuels win over Jets

Johnson, Rittich combine to pitch 27-save shutout

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

WINNIPEG, MB -- Brett Kulak scored twice and Chad Johnson and David Rittich combined for the shutout to help the Calgary Flames to a 3-0 win against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre in pre-season action Tuesday.
 
Freddie Hamilton also scored for the Flames (1-2-0). 
 
Johnson made 21 saves; Rittich stopped all six shots faced in the win.
 
Eric Comrie made 24 saves for the Jets (0-1-0). 
 
Hamilton scored his second goal in as many preseason games to put the Flames up 1-0 at 3:13 of the second period. After winning a faceoff back to Kulak in Winnipeg's end, Hamilton drove to the net to put back Comrie's rebound off the initial shot.

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Pre-season of utmost importance for Hathaway

After getting a taste of the NHL last year, Garnet Hathaway knows he must impress in the pre-season to be in Calgary on Oct. 12

by Torie Peterson @ToriePeterson / CalgaryFlames.com

WINNIPEG, MB -- Garnet Hathaway doesn't ease himself into anything.

The 24-year-old Kennebunkport, ME product regularly operates on a high-octane, pedal-to-the-metal level that would leave most people breathless. There is no testing the waters. There is no getting acclimatized to situations. It's full-throttle, right from the get-go.

He showed that when he stepped into the lineup late last season and didn't tip-toe around any opponent. He threw himself into every shift, even getting under the skin of San Jose Sharks defenceman Brent Burns and pushing the hulking rearguard to drop the gloves to the delight of the 19,000+ at the Scotiabank Saddledome that evening.

And the 2016 pre-season? He is approaching it no differently than anything else he tackles.

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