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Captain speaks candidly

by Mike Board / Calgary Flames
When the Calgary Flames aren't winning the heat gets turned up. From all quarters.

And nobody seems to take the heat more than captain Jarome Iginla. To his credit, he has never hidden from the heat; never threatened to get out of the hot kitchen. He faces the questions -- from coaches, media, fans, you name it -- with honesty. These days around the Scotiabank Saddledome, it is no different. Iginla, the team's leading point-getter for the last nine seasons, had three goals and seven assists heading into Wednesday's game against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Much of the blame was being heaped on Iginla's production level. And, of course, there are all the silly internet trade rumours that anybody with a computer can put out into cyberspace.

The latest of those made-up trades had Iginla going to Los Angeles. Naturally, he was asked about it. Naturally, he answered the question.

"I didn't see it on the Internet," confessed the captain, who was made aware of the supposed trade by Flames public relations staff. "As far as I know it is fans talking hockey and making things up."

That much is true.And we all know how much people love to make things up for the Internet.

The Flames did make a deal Wednesday before the game, acquiring Tom Kostopoulos and Anton Babchuk from the Carolina Hurricanes for Ian White and Brett Sutter. Didn't see that one posted on any blog or Facebook page did you?

"It's part of sports. It's part of hockey. It happens all over. It's my turn now," said Iginla, shrugging of the trade talk.

What Iginla wants to do, more than anything, is get back on track and help the Flames get into the playoffs. After that, who knows?

"Getting to the playoffs, you have a legitimate chance to win the Stanley Cup," said Iginla. "That's a long way off but we know it is a great opportunity. I'm sure a lot of teams feel that way they look at their own team and they know if they can string some (wins) together and get a little better, you can climb quickly and there are no teams that you are actually scared of."

Iginla, who skated on a line with Alex Tanguay and Matt Stajan on Wednesday against the Coyotes, knows that if the Flames are going to string those wins together, he has to play a role in it. "We know we have to be better and that part of the lack of success is that our line has not been nearly where we should be. We plan on getting there."

While Iginla feels he has not been as good as he should be, he sees others picking up the ball. And he believes that if everyone gets rolling, the team will be a force.

"We are not going to be any good if we only have one line going and the rest of us are watching," said Iginla. "I know I have to be better. and I know I can be better. At the same time there is a group that is going and when we join them we will have a heckuva team."

Iginla said he may have lost focus on the process of play and got caught up in the outcome. So, he plans on getting back to the basics.

"I think Tangs has been really good this year. He has worked hard. He's been a great guy to play with. Unfortunately I haven't been up there with him at his level but I plan on getting there."


"At times I think I have been thinking too much," he explained. "The habits have slipped a little bit, thinking a little too much about where I have to go and what I have to do and thinking I am going to be really good tonight and I am going to go and make things happen.

"I got away from the process. I've got to skate, compete, get to the net and get shots. However many go in, they go in. If they don't, they'll go in the next shift."

Head coach Brent Sutter agreed.

"Jarome is still a good hockey player," said the coach, shaking his head at the rumours. "But we need everyone to be good hockey players.We want everyone to have their hand on the torch. That's what we are as a team. I want everyone to bring the leadership and the accountability so that we can have success."

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