BANFF, AB -- Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla skated with the team on Tuesday for the first time since suffering back spasms during the opening practice in training camp and confirmed he would be able to play on Saturday in the home opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"It was great to be out there and just be part of practice and be around the guys," he smiled. "I'm getting ready for the first game. It's coming quick."
Iginla has been skating solo over the past few days to make sure he was 100 per cent ready to rejoin the ranks. That time on the ice gave him confidence his back was fully back to normal and gave the coaching and medical staff assurance he could be fully cleared before his first full practice with the team.
"It felt good for the first day. It's kind of one of those things that each day, you build the confidence up," he said. "I was happy with the way everything went today."
By all accounts, the 34 year-old didn't look like he had missed a beat during the hour-long practice. He cited rink rust for some minor issues he felt came up - not picking up pucks in his feet as quickly as he would liked being an example - but overall, his time away from the ice didn't appear to hamper the winger.
If Iginla had suffered the malady during the regular season, he did admit his recovery period would have been shorter. However, since it was not integral to have him skating and playing over the course of training camp, he and the team took every precaution to make sure he was in prime condition once he returned.
"We definitely took a little bit more time just to make sure. Everything has been really positive. Hopefully it's just a one-off and not an issue down the road.
"Talking to medical staff and trainers and everything, they don't think it should be. That's good and fortunately it was a good time of year where there was a little extra time to be able to let it heal. Hopefully it won't reaggravate and (I) can just go."
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