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VETERAN PRESENCE

Cup winners Brouwer, Versteeg looked upon to provide guidance

by ALEX MEDINA @alex_medina5 / calgaryflames.com

Under the bright lights of playoffs, the veterans often shine brightest. 

All season long, NHL teams talk about the importance of having veterans helping lead the way and guiding the younger players towards a successful year. 

Come playoff time, that multiplies tenfold.

Two veterans the Flames signed in the offseason for this very reason, bring not only the experience, but also a Stanley Cup ring. 

As members of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, forwards Troy Brouwer and Kris Versteeg sipped from Lord Stanley's mug.

They'd like to do it again in Calgary.

"They've been through it and have had success," Flames GM Brad Treliving said. "They are both important parts to the team and it's not just the goals, assists and production. We're going to need both of them to be pulling hard on the rope for us." 

With a combined total of 187 playoff games and 76 points to their credit, they're no strangers to the postr-season grind and know what it takes to lift that 34-pound trophy. 

Gearing up for Game 1 against the Ducks (Thursday, 8:30 p.m., CBC, SN960 The Fan), Treliving believes the experience the duo bring will prove to be invaluable. 

"Experience doesn't matter unless you have some," Treliving said. "Being able to have players that have been through it is going to benefit us. You have them for this time of year when the chips are down." 

And, although Brouwer's stats have seen a dip this season, his contributions don't come just on a scoresheet. 

The 31-year-old has been able to guide those with little to no playoff experience as they begin this post-season journey.

"A lot of things that I was brought here to do, we've been able to do," Brouwer said. "Our team is in the playoffs. Whether my personal statistics are down a little bit, the team is in the position we hoped to be in at the start of the season." 

The excitement of it all can often get lost in the shuffle, which is something that Brouwer is making sure the younger players don't take for granted despite the magnitude of the series. 

Confidence is at a high and the team is dialled in for puck drop, to prove to everyone in the league that they're here for a reason. 

"The whole ride is a lot of fun. This is the time of year you strive to be at but there is still a long road ahead," Brouwer said. "Playoffs is one thing, winning is another. Some guys don't get to do it a lot."

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