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'I'M STILL BUILDING'

Another great game for Dube, who's working hard to be the best he can

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / CalgaryFlames.com

The opportunity to hob-nob on the job with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.

In this neck of the woods, that carries as much shine as fetching your Fender Stratocaster guitar and joining a jam session alongside Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page.

"They play at a high pace," said Dillon Dube, after his two-point evening Wednesday helped the Flames shade a prospect-laden group of San Jose Sharks 6-4 in pre-season skirmishing at the Scotiabank Saddledome. "It's fun to play with them. A lot of transition. I was just pinching myself the whole time.

"It's a little nerve-wracking."

A year ago this time, of course, Dube surprised many by making the big club's opening-night roster right out of training camp, a first-year pro.

The aim hasn't changed.

Those 25 starts of 2018-19 and the flashes of NHL-readiness don't mean anything in the here and the now, though. And he knows it.

"You don't feel comfortable at all," Dube reckoned. "You feel pressure. There's a lot of games and a lot of guys are out there playing their best.

"I'm still building, each game. There's a couple more here and obviously you need to be good every game to stick around.

"If I had that (comfortable) mindset I'd be sent back to Stockton real quick. There's a lot of guys hungry to take jobs. That's what it's like to have a competitive camp and a real good team.

"It's nice to feel a little bit more comfortable but there's still a lot in the back of your head: This is a huge tryout.

"You're not competing for an American League spot right now. You're competing for the NHL. It's hard work.

"The opportunity to play and get your feet under you is good. Rolling lines helps for a lot of guys to get comfortable.

"It's different. Almost like you've got blinders on for the first couple games. You're not seeing everything. It's good to just get your vision back and get used to the timing."

 

Video: "It was pretty fun to play with them."

 

Alan Quine also made himself noticed on the night, scoring once, having a hand in Dube's tally and springing a nifty pass arranging a foiled breakaway attempt from Froese.

"I haven't been around Q a whole bunch,'' confessed head coach Bill Peters. "I know he's got a lot of positive reviews from coaches and management. They've liked what they've seen.

"He should be more comfortable. The way we play, he understands how we play. He was around us lots last year. Definitely a guy who's in the mix."

Dube's goal arrived at 13:35 of the third period, Byron Froese keeping the puck alive in the offensive zone and Dube cooly sweeping wide forehand to deposit behind Sharks' goaltender Antoine Bibeau.

"I thought he was good. I thought he was composed,'' adjudged Peters. "I'd would've liked to have seen him get a shot on the 2-on-1, however you do it. Whether it's through the pass or keep it and shoot it.

"He's probably a guy at this stage playing with (Gaudreau and Monahan) who's going to defer and force puts it into them. That's something he'll learn. That's understandable.

"He's got good hands. He's quick. He gave us quickness tonight. I thought Toby Rieder did, too."

To slide onto de facto No.-1 line, Dube had to defer and shift over to the right side.

"It was good,'' he reckoned. "In the third period I made a little turnover there. I'd like to have that back. But I like the right. I can attack from there.

"Hey, I'm good wherever they put me. I'm not going say anything."

 

Video: (Quine) is definitely a guy who's in the mix."

 

Versatility, of course, can go a long way in securing in employment when push comes to shove.

"I've had the opportunity to play on a lot of teams, whether it's World Juniors, Kelowna, Stockton of World Juniors, when I was 18, 19,'' reminded Dube. "That's what you've got to do to fill a spot.

"When I was 18 in Stockton I was playing right wing. I just wanted to be in the lineup. Same as now.

"They have such a great development plan here, such good players brought up through the organization.

"There's a lot of trust in management here.

"If I play good enough and they think I belong, I'll stay.

"If they think I need more seasoning the American League, so be it.

"It's just about coming out here, playing my best and giving what I have."

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