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ENJOYING THE RIDE

Dillon Dube has made the most of his time at the Flames training camp

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / CalgaryFlames.com

Whether tomorrow. Or Tuesday. Next week. The week after.

The clock, Dillon Dube understands, is ticking.

Maybe he can't stop time outright but his avowed mission in life at the moment is to slow the hands of the clock down as much as is humanly possible, to put a drag on the inevitable; to turn seconds into minutes, minutes into hours into days.

Anything to prolong the experience.

"Well, I'm still here,'' said the 19-year-old cheerfully, having survived another cutdown day out at the Flames' training camp. "So that means I've gotten noticed. Means they like the way I play. Now it's time to make it difficult for them.

"There's going to be a time when I go down to Kelowna this year. I know that.

"So I've got to enjoy now, be happy I'm here, and really push their decision to keep me as long as I can."

Saturday, the Flames dispatched seven players to the AHL Stockton Heat.

Dube stayed.

That in itself underlines the sort of impression the Cochrane-reared centre has made.

"He deserves right to stay here for the time being,'' stressed assistant GM Craig Conroy. "He's been that good. He's put the work in, done everything we've asked him and he's played well.

"So he deserves to still be here.

"That's the message.

"He just looks like an NHL player. That sounds pretty cliche, I know. But it's true. He looks like an NHL player.

"In great shape. Trains hard in the summer. He's already got a good handle on what it's going to take.

"And he's got the three points in two (pre-season) games, which never hurts.

"But with this guy, it's more than the scoring. Good skater, smart. Even at the World Junior camp … it isn't always about points because he's such a well-rounded player.

Video: Get to know Flames prospect Dillon Dube

"His game is more complete than to 'Hey, he's a scorer.' That sells him short. That pigeonholes him. Because that means if he's not scoring, he's not helping the team.

"This guy does a lot of things well.

"I think he has a great chance to make the World Junior Team again this year. He had a great year last year in junior and we expect him to have another great year, wherever he's playing."

Coach Glen Gulutzan reinforced the organization's high opinion of Dube's camp performance.

"He's played very well. He tested very well - I think he was second or third, conditioning-wise. His game speaks for itself. So you want to reward those guys for the dedication and the play.

"Chances are he's going to get another game and we'll see where it goes."

Monday, the Flames are in Winnipeg at the MTS Centre to face the Jets. After that, two pre-season dates remain and will doubtless be used for the final-roster players to tune up in advance of the Oct. 4 regular season curtain-raiser at Rogers Place due north.

So the clock, Dillon Dube realizes, is ticking.

"They talked to me today, told me about it being day-to-day,'' he said. "Come every day prepared and keep getting noticed. This has given me a lot of confidence going back to Kelowna, knowing I've given myself the chance to play in the NHL one day. I think I fit in. 

"Obviously they sent down the first pack of guys so now we're at the point where its gets down to business.

"Now that I got the call to stay a little longer, I'm hoping to play (in Winnipeg) because I need that game to prove I deserve to stick around again.

"Every single day I have to do something to prove I deserve to stay.

"I'm not thinking about anything beyond that.

"I just want to be here tomorrow."

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