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Iginla interview: Of pucks, goals and being a father

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

On Monday Jarome Iginla was named the third star for this past week after leading the Calgary Flames to two victories in three games, posting four points in each of those games, including the winning goals.

In his 10th NHL season, all with the Flames, Jarome leads the team and is tied for fourth in overall NHL scoring with 44 points.

His 20 goals place him fifth in the league and give him eight consecutive seasons of at least 20 goals. With 183 goals over the last five seasons, he leads the NHL in that category, ahead of Ilya Kovalchuk, who is second with 178.

With 37 points on a record of 17-12-3, the Flames sit first in a very tight Northwest Division that sees two points separating all five teams.

Calgary meets Colorado tomorrow in Denver and travels to San Jose to meet the Sharks Saturday closing out a six-game road trip that leads them into the Christmas break.

On Wednesday Iginla conducted a conference call with NHL media from around North America. Below is a transcript of the call.

Q. The other night when you were playing Anaheim, as the game was wearing on, down 4-1, it looked like you were trying to take matters into your own hands, looking to maybe have a fight. I wanted to know if that's the role of a captain. Also, the off-season regimen, you talked that you got more into aerobics, lose a little weight, little less muscle mass. Do you think that's helped you this season?

JAROME IGINLA: The first one with Anaheim, yeah, I mean, we were down 3-1 or 4-1, 3-1 I guess it was. It was a tough game. They're a very good team. They had gotten things rolling there at home on us. You know, I think (Robyn) Regehr had a really big fight for us, fought Parros on their team. It was a great fight to watch I'm sure for both benches. It's something -- it's not frustration, but it's kind of -- you know, you always hear those things about sending messages and things. You're not really trying, but you just keep competing. I mean, sometimes if you're not always going to win on the scoreboard, you want to make sure that you're there physically. It doesn't mean necessarily fighting. A lot of times it gets pretty intense, no one's happy losing, sometimes it happens. I don't know if that's necessarily a role of a captain.

Q. And your off-season stuff, working out differently than before.

JAROME IGINLA: I'm always trying to get stronger. I think in the old NHL, it was a lot more hooking, a lot more clutching and grabbing, especially in the corners. Strength was a huge, huge issue. If you could get stronger, try to pull defensemen, or when they're pulling you, try to pull away, it was a big deal. With the new rules, speed is more important than ever. I lost 10 pounds and tried to really just concentrate on quickness, balance and things. Yeah, I feel better. I personally feel like I'm a little bit more agile than I was before. And also I think that it's confidence. I think part of it's in the head, too. I think I'm a little lighter, so maybe I should be quicker. Then I did something different, Yoga stuff, too, which was good for flexibility and balance and stuff. I feel good. I think it's just a change. As players you are always trying to do different things in the summer.

Q. Collie Campbell talked about the need to start looking at bigger nets again as a serious issue because scoring has gone down a bit. Since you're on the NHL's Competition Committee, how do you feel about the idea of bigger n ets, whether you feel like we need that?

JAROME IGINLA: Well, I mean, it definitely was talked about. I think we do want scoring to be up. It's not where it was at all in the '80s, from what I understand. I don't know. It's hard. I think a lot of people want that to be a last resort because it changes records and things. I guess when you look at other sports, they have made big changes over the years. You get used to them and stuff. But one good thing, when I did see the nets, they did show us the nets, and they don't look any different when they originally brought them out. They do look the same. But I still as a player and a fan, I would hope that we can find other ways first, which they said they're trying to do. Hopefully there are some other things you can adjust in the game without changing the nets. That's my opinion. They definitely were talked about.

Q. One thing Collie said, one of the goals we don't see a lot any more in the NHL, Guy Lafleur, Mike Bossy, Mike Gartner, the slapshot from the boards, the right wing from the boards. It's a lot harder now to get one through those goalies. Most of your goals are closer to the net with the wrist shot. Do you agree that's sort of one of the goals we don't see any more?

JAROME IGINLA: Yeah. I mean, we saw a lot of them. When I was growing up, I saw a lot of them, guys going down the wing. Yeah, slapshots to the far corner, a wrist shot. Sometimes the goalie would even fall down on those far-corner shots if they're off balance and stuff because they were standing up. Now with the umbrella, I mean, butterfly style, you don't see them as much. They were exciting goals to see. The bigger nets, if they do do that, if they choose to change them or whatever, it would give you more of a chance to have those goals. I think the pads were a step in the right direction as far as getting a few more outside goals on them. Yeah, those were fun goals to see. I remember watching Gretzky score so many, and Messier come down with wing with the snapshot, put so many in. I'm not sure, but definitely you don't see as many.

Q. Being a member of the Competition Committee, a bit about the schedule. You're playing Vancouver five times in 25 days. Is that something as a player you'd like to see change and maybe go back to just six divisional games, more against the other conference?

JAROME IGINLA: Yeah, I mean, as a player, not really as part of the Competition Committee, but as a player, yeah, it's a lot of times, I don't mind that many games against Edmonton or Vancouver. But it is exciting to see the other players come through from other teams, like Washington, or Crosby in Pittsburgh, or go to those places, go to New York and Florida. I think our fans, when you talk to some of them, they do want to see it. On the other side, I guess from some of the questions -- reading some of the answers from Mr Bettman, you know, fans want to see the big games and the big teams and all that, but they don't necessarily come out to see the other conference teams that they don't know as well. As a player, I do love playing Edmonton and Vancouver, those guys, with the intensity. I haven't felt it's too much. I know we play Vancouver a couple times right after Christmas. Those will be very physical, very intense games during the holidays and right after Christmas. I look forward to those. But I still like the idea of getting to see some of the other teams and traveling a little bit.

Q. With Christmas coming up, do the players on the Flames have any goofy kind of Christmas traditions, give each other gag gifts or anything like that?

JAROME IGINLA: Not really, no. I guess over the years, it kind of seems that we're all shopping and doing things at the last minute for our families. I don't know if we're running out of time or what. Over the last so many years, no, we haven't been doing the gag gifts.

Q. Do you have your scoring touch back now - back to where you can score 50 again?

JAROME IGINLA: You know what, I feel good. But I think a b ig part of the start and things as far as points and goals is definitely teammates. Playing with (Alex) Tanguay, he's such a skilled player, a big play-maker. (Daymond Langkow) Langs is playing so well. Talking to him, he feels the best of his career. I was thinking about it. With our team, we're starting to score more goals. If you're able to score more goals, it makes it easier as a team to get that next one kind of thing. You know, other teams take chances. If you can get up 4-2 -- the other night we were up 4-2 against L.A., they have to come and take some chances. We get a clear-cut breakaway goal with (Kristian) Huselius. It's been a while on our team since we've been able to score that many goals. Chances are a lot more there when you're up one or two than when you're 1-1 and stuff. I think all those things are helping to create more chances for all of us. Fortunately, things are going well.

Q. Do you think 50 goals will still win the Rocket Richard Trophy or are you going to need more? Is the scoring up enough that maybe you need 55 goals, 60?

JAROME IGINLA: I think in the position some of the players are this year, and last year it took over 50, there were a few 50-goal scorers. I think, yeah, 55 probably and up. Looking at Ovechkin, different guys, like Kovalchuk, a lot of guys are having really good starts. I would say it's going to be 55 plus. It's great. Hopefully someone does get to 60 again.

Q. We're one day past the 10-year anniversary of the trade from Dallas to Calgary. Back then you were your father's son. With the birth of your children, approaching 30 years of age, how do you maybe view the business, the game? Being a father, family man, does that impact your outlook on the business at all?

JAROME IGINLA: Yeah, it does. I think it actually helps. There are more things you hear about, say, distractions at home and stuff, as far as sleep and all those things, maybe not preparing for a game. But I think they're unbelievable distractions. At times during hockey, I know myself, you get so wrapped up in it, you squeeze your stick a little too much, all those things, or you're too focused. I just think it helps you put things in perspective, enjoy your time at the rink, enjoy the game. Things go so fast. I think it really does just help you not put so much pressure, focus, just relax when I come to the rink, try to work as hard as I can, kind of leave it there. Before when I was a young, single guy, it's hard to just leave it at the rink. I think it's easier to leave it at the rink, which is a positive. It's been awesome.


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