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After off-season spent in gym, Rittich ready to grab Flames' No. 1 job

1 14 0
25.09.2019

CALGARY — The coach’s challenge to David Rittich during exit meetings last spring revolved around being a better pro.

Spending more time in the gym, less time over dinner plates.

David Rittich took it to heart, but insists his longtime trainer back home took it, well, too far.

“My goalie coach went a little bit crazy,” said the 27-year-old Czech netminder in his beautifully broken English with a smile.

“We work out for four hours. I don’t really want to think about it anymore. It was really hard.

“He was losing his mind because he say, ‘you could be goalie No. 1 in the NHL – you have to work more harder than last year.

“Oh man.”

Indeed, the happy-go-lucky Rittich left Calgary for the summer well aware he’d likely have a new tandem-mate and the opportunity would almost certainly be there for him to “be the alpha male,” as Flames general manager Brad Treliving described it.

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Signing a two-year, $2.75-million contract in line with the one–year salary Cam Talbot signed as an unrestricted free agent, the ever-popular Big Save Dave is here at training camp as the likely starter opening night.

The plan is to split time between the two, just like Mike Smith and Rittich did last year when the hot hand was quietly given the go-ahead by Peters one and two days ahead of each start.

The goal, in Rittich’s eyes, is to continue the progress he’s made each of the last three seasons since signing as a free agent out of the Czech league’s Mlada Boleslav.........

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