SUN Hockey Pool

Gettin' Iggy with it

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:33 AM ET

The Calgary Flames have played six games since New Year's Eve.

Jarome Iginla has four goals in those contests.

In Saturday night's 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild, the Calgary Flames star blocked shots, asserted himself in the corners, was a physical presence in open ice and scored the winning goal -- a hard shot over Manny Fernandez' shoulder.

Could it be the second-half statistical monster Flames fans are accustomed to seeing has begun to rear its head?

"I'm feeling good," said Iginla, laughing at the question. "Probably feeling the best over the last six, seven games that I've felt all year. I'm excited for the remaining bit. The year's gone quick. I'm looking forward to it."

The captain's critics have been disappointed with his numbers so far this season. Iginla leads the team with 19 goals and 35 points and boasts a plus-8 rating but will have to continue his current pace to come anywhere near his career best 52 goals and 96 points achieved in 2001-02 -- which was also the last Olympic year.

His teammates and coaches would argue Iginla does more than just score to help the team. His physical presence in the playoffs was just as important as the 13 goals he scored during the Flames' 2004 run.

It looks like all aspects of Iginla's game are now heating up in similar fashion to the last NHL season.

Iginla scored 29 of his league-best 41 goals last season after ringing in the new year. This year, Iginla had 15 markers prior to Jan. 1 and is now one shy of scoring 20 for the eighth time in nine seasons.

"I like scoring goals. That's definitely my favourite part, individually," said Iginla. "But it's about getting shots and scoring chances. In my mind, I'm trying to get a certain amount of scoring chances and shots. Not just shots from perimeter but actual legitimate scoring chances."

ICE CHIPS: Hurricanes centre Eric Staal and Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur were the NHL players of the week ... Goaltender Robert Esche and defenceman Joni Pitkanen moved closer to returning to the Flyers lineup after practising with the team ... Flyers goalie Antero Niittymaki has been added to Finland's Olympic team, replacing Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff.


Videos

Photos