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'It's pretty obvious that Adam's got all the ingredients you want'

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

Signed and sealed.

All that's missing is the delivery part.

The hardest part.

"I mean, it's pretty obvious that Adam's got all the ingredients you want," Flames GM Brad Treliving is saying of Adam Ruzicka. "Size - he's a huge man. Strong. Can skate. Skill.

"He has nights when he's the best player in the building. We're trying to take the highs and lows and flatten those out a little bit. But it's a good package.

"I thought he really took off once he was traded to Sudbury last year."

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Buddy Robinson had a great season in Stockton and is still laser focused on making an impact with the Flames

by GEORGE JOHNSON GJohnsonFlames /

Closing fast on his 28th birthday, Buddy Robinson's goal hasn't changed.

He's still focused. 

He's still persevering.

"I still want to play in the NHL," says the rangy winger, from his off-season home base in New Jersey. "I still believe I can play in the NHL.

"That ambition, that belief, never changes.

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An increased role in Vancouver led Flames prospect Milos Roman to make big strides in his development

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

When he's a world away from home in winter-time, perched out on the Canadian west coast, Milos Roman misses many aspects of hometown Kysucké Nové Mesto.

His parents, Milos Sr. and Ludmila, naturally. His brothers, girlfriend Kristina.

"And, of course, I miss halušky,'' the centre-ice prospect is confessing. "It's something like gnocchi, made from potatoes.

"It's our national food. Every Slovak is excited about halušky.

"There's a special cheese, Bryndza. You can't eat halušky without Bryndza and you can't get that cheese here in Canada.

"Not very healthy, especially when you're playing hockey" - 702 calories per serving, 32g of fat, 66g of carbs and 36g of protein - "but my mom makes it and so does my grandmother, another Ludmila. And it's SO good.

"So when I get home, every once in a while …"

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Bringing in Iya Gavrilova as a translator has allowed Russian players to thrive at development camp

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

Such an advantage to share not only their mother tongue, but a second language, as well.

Not everyone, you see, has been through the advanced Berlitz course for hockey.

"Not speaking the language, they could've maybe come here and gotten around, made do, but it wouldn't have been as enriching an experience,'' Iya Gavrilova is saying. "What if communication broke down and they couldn't get the sticks they wanted or didn't understand what was being asked of them?

"Just little things.

"And little things, when you're confused, can seem like big things.

"Measuring gear, for example. It took them five minutes instead of, say, 20. Or longer.

"My coming from Russia, it helps that I can explain why things work the way they do. I know both sides. Where they're coming from, and this side, too.

"Having played, when I tell them something from the coach, the boys know I'm not making stuff up. It's not like hearing it from someone who's never watched, or been involved in, hockey."

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Jeremy McKenna wasn't drafted but he doesn't plan to let that keep him out of the NHL

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

Dreams aren't solely reached, ambitions exclusively fulfilled, down a one-way street.

"There are a hundred different roads to get to the NHL," reminds Jeremy McKenna. "It's been proven time and time again.

"Guys from all over the world make it. Guys from all kinds of different leagues. Late bloomers. Early bloomers. First-round picks. Guys who were never picked. Guys who spend four or five years in the American league. Guys who step right into the NHL from junior.

"As I said, there are a hundred different ways.

"My life is hockey.

"So I'm gonna find one of those ways. And I'm gonna make it.

"The draft didn't happen for me so I'm going to find another way."

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Yes, Emilio Pettersen has the offensive flair ... but he also has an improved two-way game, an unfaltering drive, and a fiery competitive streak

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

They come from hardy stock up in Oslo, Norway, on the northernmost end of the Oslofjord.

"There is not," assures University of Denver Pioneers' head knock David Carle, "a wasted day, a wasted hour, a wasted moment, in Emilio Pettersen's body.

"This is a super-super-competitive kid.

"He's a huge piece of our program and our pursuit of another national championship. We think we have a real good chance at it this coming year and the years he's with us.

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Tyler Parsons is feeling good physically and mentally, and brimming with confidence for Development Camp and the season ahead: "This is the best I've felt in my whole, entire life."

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

Bits and pieces. 

Glimpses and glimmers. 

Moments and snapshots.

One step forward. A half back. Then vice-versa.

So far, Tyler Parsons' journey into the professional realm has mimicked mime Marcel Marceau's signature Walking Against the Wind routine.

Just when it appears he's making headway …

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For Taber native Brandon Davidson, signing in Calgary brings him back to where he "fell in love with the game"

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

Back in the day, down south Taber way, the Davidson household found itself hockey divided.

"My older brother (Kyle) was an Oilers fan," reports Brandon Davidson, from his current home base of Lethbridge. "A Ryan Smyth kinda guy.

"My dad (Scott) was a big Boston fan.

"So I sort of got stuck in the middle.

"But I loved watching Jarome play, going to Calgary to watch the Flames at the Saddledome, feeling the noise, feeling the atmosphere.

"That is, honestly, where I fell in love with the game."

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Cam Talbot feels a one-year deal with the Flames is a perfect fit for him and his family

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

Cam Talbot hadn't even been born yet when a sci-fi comedy hit theatres first-run like a blast of ectoplasm.

That would be 35 summers ago, in 1984.

But the Ghostbusters tie keeps following him around, place to place. Just like his equipment.

In fact, in his equipment.

Mask, specifically.

"I feel like everywhere I go, that gets brought up," sighs the newest Calgary Flame, from three hours north up the highway. "It was kinda a New York thing when I played there because I lived in Tribeca, not too far from fire station where the movie was filmed, so we thought it'd be a neat idea.

"But then every time I'd get traded, Dave Gunnarson, the mask painter, would say: 'Oh, I've got a great idea for this team, too, and we can still incorporate Ghostbusters!'

"He loves it and I'm not very creative so I just kinda let him to go with it."

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Flames goalie prospect Nick Schneider made strides after splitting last season with the AHL Heat and ECHL Mavericks

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

The opening credits were, by any criteria, undeniably spectacular.

Imagine being seated on a chair lift on a picture-postcard-pretty late September afternoon, rising from the base at the Mutianyu section to the majestic string of watchtowers spaced strategically off as far as the eye can see along the Great Wall of China.

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