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Stanley Cup Final

Iginla wants to win with Flames

Wednesday, 11.30.2011 / 9:40 AM / NHL Insider

By Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

Jarome Iginla is aware of the rumors. He's hoping a turnaround by his Calgary Flames will be enough to silence them.

With the Flames off to a slow start through the first quarter of the season, the face of the franchise is aware of the whispers circling around the possibility that he will soon find himself playing somewhere else.

Through 23 games, the Flames have a 10-12-1 record for 21 points -- tied for 12th in the Western Conference and 25th in the NHL. Calgary's slow start has fueled gossip that Iginla, struggling himself with just seven goals and 12 points in 23 games, is being shopped as the team around him has taken on a more youthful demeanor.

That's not what the 34-year-old Iginla has in mind, though. Not only does he insist the Stampede City is where he wants to be, but also where he wants to win.

Jarome Iginla
Right Wing - CGY
GOALS: 7 | ASST: 5 | PTS: 12
SOG: 59 | +/-: -7
"I want to win here and I believe we can be a good team here," Iginla said. "We have 60 games left. That's a lot of hockey and there are going to be a lot of changes over the next 60 games in the standings. We believe we're going to be moving up. No one here has given up and we still feel we can be a good club and make the playoffs. That's where the focus is."

And not on trade buzz revolving around Iginla, according to coach Brent Sutter.

"We're staying unified with what we need to do and in the group inside," Sutter said. "All the speculation, talk is all meaningless as far as I'm concerned and the group is concerned."

Iginla, who was drafted by the Dallas Stars in 1995 but has played all of his 1,128 National Hockey League games in a Flames sweater, made it perfectly clear Tuesday – the rumors are purely speculation. 

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"It's just the way it works, the way media is," Iginla said, who was acquired in exchange for Joe Nieuwendyk, then an integral part of the Flames. "As far as Internet and how easy it is to run with a story, you look and it's not always accurate, that's for sure. But it's fine, it's part of the game. I'm not blaming anybody, but there is definitely some things you read that aren't accurate and you move on."

Unless Iginla and the Flames are able to put themselves in a better position to make the playoffs, the rumors are likely to persist. With that in mind, Iginla has a solution to silence the speculation.

"The best way to stop the stories is to win games and climb up in the standings," he said. "Nobody in here has given up. We still believe we can be a good club and make the playoffs. That's where the focus is."

The climb will start with Iginla, who has led the Flames in scoring every season since 2000-01, a span of 10 seasons.

According to both player and coach, Iginla isn't far from returning to his 43-goal form of last season.

"He's getting there," Sutter said. "I thought Jarome is finding his way here and that's encouraging. That's a good sign."

Iginla also feels he's coming out of his slump.

"I've been blessed to play a long time and some success and have a lot of fun," said Iginla, the Flames' longest-serving captain. "I'm still having a lot of fun and I still believe I have a lot of game left. It was just a tough stretch and I believe I'm coming out of it."

Once he arrives, the rumors will leave. But the captain isn't planning to.

For me, it's a great win for our hockey team and for a lot of people back in Columbus, especially our fans in particular … people who have been devoted to this organization, it's big.

— Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards on their win vs. the Penguins in Game 2, the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup Playoff victory