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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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KID'S GOT MOXY!

Tkachuk's play during rookie season has team - and his GM - excited for future

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / calgaryflames.com

One story, to Brad Treliving, is the ultimate 'tell.'

The furor surrounding the 10-day-old Drew Doughty imbroglio was still very much on the boil back on March 29. 

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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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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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NO TIME TO DWELL ON LOSS

Gulutzan: "I think I can safely speak for everybody when I say we're eager to get back at it."

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / calgaryflames.com

He's said it before.

Often.

Eight days of unfairly harsh, deflating results doesn't alter the conviction any: Glen Gulutzan's never been prouder of a group anywhere, at any time, over the course of his coaching career.

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TRELIVING LOOKING AHEAD TO 2017-18

A day after the Flames' postseason run came to an end, Brad Treliving is preparing for next season

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / CalgaryFlames.com

After finally getting home in the wee small hours of Thursday morning, sleep, understandably, was difficult in arriving for Brad Treliving.

So he trooped outside for a long, 3 a.m. walk with the family's golden retriever, Maddy, for company.

"It's true what they say about dogs being man's best friend,'' he reports.

"It was a three-beer walk. By that, I mean I took three beer with me and they were empty by the time I got back."

A playoff loss can do that a fella.

"It's still pretty raw,'' admits the Flames' general manager. "You go through all the stages. Denial. Grieving. The difficulty with the playoffs is it just … ends.

"Like running a 100-yard dash in an 80-yard gym.

"Suddenly, you just hit a wall."

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LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

Flames have a lot of positives to build on for next season

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / calgaryflames.com

Picking through the debris field of Wednesday night, Kris Versteeg, always available to provide an interesting take, spoke of this bright, blue sky out there for the organization.

Tough to peer off in the distance and see the colour hue of the horizon, though, when in the immediate pain of the moment all you want to do is draw the curtains, flick the light switch to Off, slip on the headphones, lock the door and tune out of the rest of the world.

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TAKING STOCK OF LOSS

Sweep at hands of Ducks painful end to season for Flames

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / calgaryflames.com

If there's an image that lingers in mind's eye from the embers of Wednesday night, it's of Brian Elliott perched stone-still on the end of the Calgary bench, his night over almost before it had begun, mask still on so as not to betray his emotions.

"As a goalie,'' he said later, "you take pride on giving yourself and your team a chance to win every night and that …"

Elliott's voice drifted off. 

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LAZAR, HAMILTON IN LINEUP

Duo draw in for Game 4, Elliott will get start in net

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / calgaryflames.com

There's an infectious optimism about Curtis Lazar that's almost tangible, like a wave of heat coming off a backyard cooker.

His grin is more permanent than Heath Ledger's Joker make-up in The Dark Knight Rises. In terms of positivity, this guy makes the Up With People vocal group seem down.

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