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Finding and evaluating potential NHL talent on larger European ice surfaces is a tough task, but one that Flames scout Bobbie Hagelin relishes

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

It's 4 p.m. Stockholm time, 8 a.m. in Calgary, and Bobbie Hagelin is preparing to go to a hockey game.

Hagelin, understand, goes to a lot of hockey games.

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After a sweeping a four-game road swing and increasing their run of victories to seven straight, Flames look to make it eight in a row against Jets

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

Travis Hamonic wasn't to be spotted lounging on a white-sand beach in some Condé Nast-shortlisted paradise or ordering a drink that arrives complete with small umbrella from any cabaña bar.

"We have a summer home, two hours from Lake of the Woods,'' reported Hamonic of his mandated mini-break as per the CBA. "We own 10 acres up there.

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Johnny Gaudreau has a good shot to become only the second Flame to win the NHL scoring title

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

As a first-hand, best-seat-in-the-house witness to history, Craig Conroy doesn't - for the life of him - see why it can't be repeated.

"The thing is,'' the Flames assistant GM is saying, "Johnny's got that hunger. That appetite. He wants the puck. He wants to be the difference-maker.

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The Flames get back to work on Saturday, heading into their tilt with plenty of momentum from their seven-game win streak

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

To trot out a careworn, clichéd analogy doesn't begin to do it justice.

This isn't just any old wave.

This is surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku catching a magnificent crest on North Shore Oahu's world-famous Banzai Pipeline and riding it for all its worth.

Seven straight wins.

A sweep of a four-game road swing.

Top line in incandescent form.

Goaltender in a miserly mood.

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The Heat rookie is adapting well to the pro game

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

The initial din of notoriety has dissipated; that first blush of newness and electric-shock excitement is over.

Four months into a seismic shift in his life, his future, Spencer Foo has moved on to the day-to-day doing part of being a professional.

"It's been good,'' he reports. "I mean, I've obviously gone through a couple ups and downs but I think that's normal for most guys their first year pro.

"I've learned a ton already. And I do feel like I'm hitting my groove right now, starting to play the kind of hockey I know, the kind I played last year. Right now I feel as confident as I've ever been as a hockey player.

"We have a good support system down here, good coaching, great teammates.

"Every guy on this team has been 'The Guy' at one point in their lives and they've all had to make the jump to that next level. I'm no different. That's just the way hockey is.

"The ones willing to put in the work, to keep excelling, to keep pushing, to get through the grind, those are the guys who make that jump."

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Like most prospects, Brett Kulak has had his ups-and-downs while striving to make it in the NHL. The key for him was learning to 'embrace the journey'

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

Stony Plain, Alta., is, for hockey folk, consecrated ground.

Forever famous as the longtime home of Mr. Goalie, the legendary Glenn Hall.

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The netminder was praised by his entire team for his performance in the first half of the year

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

CALGARY - The ballots are in. The votes cast. 

And one name towers above the rest.

"Oh, Smitty,'' replies skipper Mark Giordano. "Gotta be Smitty."

Micheal Ferland ponders the alternatives a moment before answering: "That's tough. Johnny's been awesome. Mony, too. But I've gotta give it to Smitty."

"Mike Smith,'' replies Curtis Lazar, puzzled that you'd even need to ask. "I'd think it's pretty much consensus, right?"

Pretty much.

So what say ye, Kris Versteeg?

"Mike Smith. Between him and Johnny, but Smith. For sure."

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FLAMES REWIND - 07.01.18

Ferland setting personal bests in goals and points - and there's still half a season to go ... Bennett celebrates 200th game by dropping the mitts ... Two big divisional wins at home this week

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

The size, belligerence, absolute wrecking ball of a shot, a release that ranks among the most lethal on the team … it's all coming together for Micheal Ferland at the moment.

Reaching the halfway point of this season, the bruising left-winger has already established a career high in goals, 17, and is one point shy of his seasonal best, 25, set a year ago.

And 41 games remain to pad those totals.

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Hamilton part of shining cast with winner in spirited victory over Anaheim

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

If Dougie Hamilton did indeed let out with a heads-up holler, he doesn't remember.

"I have no idea,'' was the frank confession afterwards. "I was just jumping up and Ferly made a great pass. I realized I had a breakaway. Just tried to stay patient and make a move.

"And it just … went in."

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Jordan Sigalet's NHL dream was cut short by MS but he's grateful for the chance he had and the ability now to help those affected by the disease

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

On the surface, in the grand scheme of things, 43 seconds may not seem like much.

In truth, though, in those places of the heart where importance lies, 43 seconds in the right circumstances can linger a lifetime.

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