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Brodie and Hamonic becoming the standout defence pairing everyone envisioned

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

It was, in essence, something along the lines of a pre-arranged marriage.

Sight-unseen, expected to create a lasting union, forming an unbreakable, airtight bond.

Make it work.

No pressure, right?

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Historic night for Giordano a good reminder of everything the captain contributes on and off the ice

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

Up in the Rogers Arena rafters, on the whiz-bang, all-the-bells-and-whistles LED scoreboard, a trailer teaser heralded the upcoming Gerard Butler sci-fi pulse-quickener Geostorm, coming soon to a theatre near you.

Directly downward, a hundred feet below on the ice surface, an extended-run critic's choice was playing again to rave reviews: Giostorm.

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After a run to the box over the past few games, the Flames are focused keeping penalties to a minimum

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

VANCOUVER - Previous little good ever comes of bad behaviour.

"If you look at the last three games, honestly,'' critiqued Calgary coach Glen Gulutzan, casting an unflinching eye towards a major malady for his Flames early in this young season, "we've taken too many penalties.

"When you take 17 minors the last three games, the league doesn't let you off the hook.

"It just doesn't.

"I don't care how good your penalty kill is. Eventually they're going to break through."

Translation: Clean up your act(s).

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Glen Gulutzan will go back to Mike Smith for the second straight night

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

VANCOUVER - Turning the other cheek simply isn't in Mike Smith's mental makeup.

Turning things around is.

"Any time you have an off-night as a team and as an individual,'' the Flames' combative goaltender was saying late Saturday morning, "you want to get back in there, right the ship and help be a part of that.

"You can't wait to get the bad taste out of your mouth.

"So the good thing is we get a chance to redeem ourselves right away."

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First chance for fans to see Jagr skate in a Flames jersey at the Scotiabank Saddledome

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

This isn't your typical, routine Game 5 on the handy-dandy pocket calendar.

Not. Even. Close.

There's a Dolby Stereo-level buzz, a seismic current of anticipation, circulating around town.

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Gaudreau shines during Flames comeback win against Jets

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

There are nights, special nights, when he seems capable of virtually anything. 

Of making magic from the mundane. Of moving both heaven and ice.

On opening night, we saw half of one of those nights.

And that turned out to be more than enough to see off the Winnipeg Jets.

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Your Flames Authority George Johnson chats with the Alberta boy about playing close to home now, kissing the Cup in memory of his dog, and whether Jonathan Toews is really Mr. Serious

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

He has become, this Lethbridge product, among the most popular of Flames, one of the great, at-first unheralded additions of the last few years, injecting a high skill level on the ice and a disarming perspective off it. Your Flames Authority George Johnson sat down with Kris Versteeg - re-signed to a one-year deal in the summer - to talk about being yourself, Cup moments, Captain Serious, Hat Trick the toy Pomeranian, and the great good fortune of playing so close to home.

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Winger draws into lineup for tilt against Jets

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

Curtis Lazar spent the afternoon straining at the leash.

"I am so ready to go,'' declared the ultra-positive, versatile forward. "I'm confident in my abilities. I'm excited about this opportunity.

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Veteran still getting up to speed, Curtis Lazar to skate with Sam Bennett and Kris Versteeg

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

Jaromir Jagr was still out on the Scotiabank Saddledome ice, being put through his paces, even as Glen Gulutzan spoke in in front of the Flames' backdrop for his post-morning-skate media availability Saturday.

"No, he's out,'' confirmed the coach, referencing the ageless icon everyone hereabouts can't wait to see model Flaming C duds for the first time. "He's in Day 2 of training camp.

"Curtis Lazar is in."

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Mike Smith and the Flames amped up for home-opener Saturday against Jets

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

A sense of occasion. A surge of let's-get-it-started adrenalin. Dolby-stereo-level din. Spotlights. Smoke. Introductions. Pizzazz.

So many out-of-the-ordinary goings-on in and around these home-openers.

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