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ELLIOTT, FLAMES EMBRACING FATHERHOOD

When Brian Elliott became a father this past October, his teammates were there with support and advice

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- Welcome to 3:00 AM wakeups.

Constant feedings.

Continual diaper changes. 

And juggle in a National Hockey League career on top of it, too. 

"It's not about you anymore," Calgary Flames goaltender Brian Elliott started. 

"It's a balance. 

"We play this game that you have to have your rest, you have to have your time by yourself as a goalie to just zone out and just focus on what you need to do, but when it comes down to it even before the game … holding him and playing with him gives you a couple smiles before you head to the rink. 

"It's something cool. 

"It changes your perspective a little bit."

Elliott would know. He's living it.

He and wife Amanda welcomed baby boy Owen, their first child, on Oct. 2.

Surely he was braced with some advice by teammates, right? 

A few are veterans of the balance, after all. 

"Some nights you're up a few times throughout the night," said captain Mark Giordano, whose wife Lauren gave birth to baby Jack on Apr. 4, 2013.

"But I've found it's awesome. 

"You stay and home and you relax a lot more. You're at home most of the day so you get a lot of rest. I just found it's almost more relaxing, because you're at home spending a lot more time with your family and enjoying it. 

"I'm sure he's having a lot of fun off the start here.

"I don't think you worry about rest or anything."

Because chances are sleep isn't not coming at home.

That's when the veteran savvy comes in. 

"Sleep is the No. 1," center Matt Stajan said.

"You've got to catch up on your sleep on the road, almost, is the way it is once you have a baby.

"For me, I've learned to separate the two. You come to the rink and work hard and do your thing. When you go home you leave everything at the rink and enjoy time with your family. 

"No matter how things are or how bad things are going at the rink, you go home and you've got something special there. It's great to see your family every day. Sleep is the least of my worries, but it is probably the biggest adjustment from your day-to-day life. 

"But it's worth it."

Tweet from @MattStajan18: So much to be thankful for! #LoveMyFamily #HappyThanksgiving pic.twitter.com/0XhIIiqr82

Stajan and wife Katie welcomed son Elliot on Mar. 2, 2015. 

He's learned those naps are critical.

Not for the infants.

For him.

"On game day, the pre-game nap is usually time for when I nap," Stajan said. "It's unfortunate we're away so much during the year. 

"When you're at home, your kids usually want to be with you and come into the room. You just adjust.

"Like anybody who has kids, you adjust and you do what works for yourself and your family."

The trick, Giordano suggests, is to sync those naps.

"If we do nap, it's at the same time … but not together," he said. 

"I don't know if you've ever slept with a three-year-old, but they roll around and kick you and all sorts of stuff.

"We'll hang out, watch a show together, and separate and go to our own rooms.

"We have the same schedule on game days.

"My wife takes care of the wakeups or anything on the afternoon game days. It's important. Behind the scenes, the mother in the picture does a lot of work that goes unseen."

An understatement, no doubt.

"It's the truth," Stajan said. "Without your wife doing what they do every day it would be hard to do what we do. For anyone, having a mom is important for any child and I think all of us with kids, with whatever you do in this world, you're very thankful for all that they do.

"We're all very fortunate and thankful for everything they do."

Tweet from @MattStajan18: Had a great day with my family, teammates, and the fans at the Flames #SuperSkills !!! pic.twitter.com/6hU2wTGBu2

It didn't take Elliott long to learn that fact.

And how quickly things change. 

Because life at home puts things into perspective at the rink. 

"You have to," he said.

"Especially when you're being counted on as a dad and obviously we're away so much, when you're home your wife needs you there. 

"It's fun.

"Every day is a different challenge and when I get a chance to take him for a couple hours and she goes and does her thing … it's so hard and you realize what they do for you and for the family.

"It puts hard work into perspective."

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