Iginla leads by example

ERIC FRANCIS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:03 AM ET

Jarome Iginla doesn't get much credit for his defensive play, but anyone who saw the Calgary Flames' second goal in Sunday's win had to credit the captain for the type of textbook effort coaches dream of.

Displaying the type of leadership many questioned before No. 12 starred at the Olympics, Iginla not only saved an early game-tying goal by breaking up a sure snipe on a Minnesota Wild two-on-one, he then hustled all the way up ice where he set up Mark Giordano's goal seconds later to put the visitors up 2-0.

Iginla may not possess the same sort of flash and dash as he did when scoring 50 goals, but he still has the ability to single-handedly turn a game around in so many different ways.

If the Flames are to avoid the humiliation of missing the playoffs, Iginla will have to duplicate efforts like Sunday's with much more consistency.

After all, the team is devoid of any other high-end talent -- outside of Miikka Kiprusoff and Rene Bourque -- capable of such leadership.

Offensively, he was everything the Flames needed yesterday, as his hat-trick and four points attest. It was as dominant as he's been in years.

But if you watched closely, you could see he offered up so much more than that.

Now more notes, quotes and anecdotes from a sports world wondering how much more the Flames' playoff chances improve if Iginla and Bourque can continue building chemistry on the top line?

AROUND THE HORN

Final tally on the Olympic standings for those wondering how close we came to even greater heights than our record medal haul -- 23 fourth- and fifth-place finishes and 71 top eights ... If there's one good thing about the Flames' inconsistency, it's the club won't back into playoffs as they have so many years before their four straight first-round ousters. If they are able to somehow scramble into a playoff spot, they'll enter the post-season tourney red hot, which has been proven by many teams over the years to be so crucial ... Amazing how little has been made of the six-year, US$20-million deal Flames GM Darryl Sutter inked LW Rene Bourque to during the Olympic break. As complete a player as he is, it says here it could very well end up being one of the best and most important deals the Flames have committed to since Sutter arrived ... Yes, the RW Brandon Segal who has taken Dallas by storm is indeed the same kid who spent five years starring for the Calgary Hitmen. Six years after wrapping up a solid junior career, the 26-year-old winger seems to have found his a home with the Stars following six years in the minors as property of four NHL teams. After scoring just once in 25 games with the Los Angeles Kings this season, Segal has picked up two goals, two assists and is plus-3 in his first three games after being plucked off waivers by the Stars.

PARTING GIFTS

Looks like former Calgary Stampeders boss Jim Barker has landed himself in another no-win coaching situation. In Calgary, he had his hands tied by owner Michael Feterik's not-so-hidden agenda, and in Toronto, he'll be handcuffed by so much more, including a brutal team, the absence of a quarterback and massive CFL apathy ... LW Eric Nystrom is really starting to prove he's capable of being an impact player -- just in time for him to take advantage of unrestricted free agency ... When LW Wojtek Wolski and C Eric Belanger are the headliners, it's no wonder the record number of trade deadline deals still resulted in a record-number of disappointed fans in almost every NHL city ... Understandably, Flames hockey fans have never been thrilled by references to the 'Lames.' However, with four former Toronto Maple Leafs players in their lineup, surely it stings far worse to hear people refer to the club as the Calgary Maple Leafs ... Which age-old streak will end first -- the Philadelphia Flyers will finally land a legitimate starting goaltender, or the Calgary Flames will find a first-line centre?


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