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Flames taking Iginla trade talk in stride

by Brian Hedger

CHICAGO -- Jarome Iginla opted not to speak with reporters Tuesday morning at United Center after the Calgary Flames' optional morning skate.

Thus, any thoughts the Flames captain might have on trade speculation involving him will have to wait until after Tuesday's night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks (8:30 p.m. ET) -- one of the teams some think might make a play for him.

Iginla's teammates, however, were asked about the ongoing rumors with the April 3 trade deadline looming. The general consensus: remain narrowly focused and keep a sense of humor about it.

"Most of us can read, and so we're aware of it," forward Mike Cammalleri said. "I guess, amongst ourselves, you can make our own comedy of it and then just prepare to play the hockey game, and really quickly realize it's not something we can worry about."

At the same time, the Flames should have a firm grasp why any potential trade of Iginla is considered such a big deal -- both in Calgary and across the NHL.

"This might be a boring answer, but for me, I think the best way to deal with it is just understand it," Cammalleri said. "It's really not that hard to understand. We play in a Canadian market where people really love hockey. Jarome Iginla is the face of the Calgary Flames franchise for how long now? And, so, people have an emotional attachment to him and the team. It's going to be a lot of gossip when it comes to this topic."

Tuesday morning, for instance, a report from a Calgary television station on Twitter said Iginla had been spotted in Boston instead of Chicago.

About 15 minutes later, Iginla took the ice at United Center with his Flames teammates.

"He's been good [about it]," said Calgary defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, who has also been named in trade rumors with the Flames 14th in the Western Conference standings. "Guys don't talk about it. As far as everyone in here is concerned, everyone who's here is here. You're going to play hard and try to win hockey games. It's not the first time [it's happened], so I don't worry about it."

Flames coach Bob Hartley agreed with that approach.

"That's part of our job," he said. "Media have a job to do, coaches have a job to do, players have a job to do, and this is the time of year [for trade rumors]. It's nothing new, so it shouldn't be a surprise."

Hartley, however, didn't exactly douse any of the Iginla trade talk.

"Anything is possible," Hartley said. "I don't trade. I coach. I'll stick to my job and I'm sure that [Flames general manager Jay Feaster] and his group will do what's best for the Calgary Flames."

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