NOT FAR OFF
Flames captain Jarome Iginla
missed his second straight practice on Monday, prompting questions about the severity of the back spasms he bagn suffering on Saturday and how long he would be kept out of action.
The winger quelled any fear that he would miss a substantial amount of time, saying it was a day-to-day issue.
"I'm feeling better today," he said, noting there was a big improvement from how he felt on Sunday. "Talking with Brent and Jay, with the way our schedule works, make sure that it's 100 per cent so I don't just re-aggravate it.
"It's definitely better today than it was yesterday. I don't think it will be too long."
As far as the protocol in terms of making sure he doesn't rush back into action and risk injuring himself further, Iginla is taking a day-by-day approach.
"If it was a different timetable or whatever, I might be more aggressive. But right now, with the way it works, I have an opportunity to make sure and get the proper healing time."THE ONLY OPINION THAT MATTERS
Some hockey pundits have essentially brushed off the Flames season, saying an appearance in the postseason is unlikely. This isn't a source of stress for the team, however. In fact, many of them see it as motivation.
"I think we're in a good spot," said Matt Stajan
. "Nobody is giving us a lot of credit or counting us as favourites to do a lot ... we can use that as a way to prove people wrong.
"We're a veteran team, one of the more experienced teams, and we have a lot to prove because of that. I think we'll gel together as a group, come together and make sure we're doing what we need to do."
Defenceman Mark Giordano
knows what is being said about the team but doesn't place much stock on what outside sources have to say.
"You do hear it," he admitted. "Right now, pretty much the bottom line is there are 30 teams that think they're going to be in the playoffs.
"It's just a matter of staying confident, staying with it. I think we have a great team and a great group. Hopefully we can start the right way and keep it going."
Trading veterans Robyn Regehr and Daymond Langkow has left some questioning if the Flames overall skill level has dropped over the summer. Giordano firmly believes adding players like Chris Butler
and Scott Hannan
has made the club better.
"I like the additions we've made. You can see right out there from the first two skates some more skill. It looks like we're going to push that pace up and try and continue what we did in the second half. Offensively, we were really good I thought. We want to clamp down defensively and round out our game."LINES FROM MONDAY'S SCRIMMAGETeam White
Baertschi - Backlund - Hagman
Glencross - Moss - Holland
Ferland - Horak - Laing
Letourneau-Leblond - Bancks - Desbiens
Butler - Bouwmeester
Smith - Babchuk
Piskula - WilsonTeam Black
Tanguay - Byron - Bourque
Stempniak - Stajan - Elson
Howse - Bouma - Jackman
Kostopoulos - Jokinen - Nemisz
Hannan - Giordano
Henry - Mikkelson
Brodie - Martin