SUN Hockey Pool

Home's where heartache is

Calgary Flames' Jarome Iginla (pictured) and Robyn Regehr returned yesterday from their Olympic...

Calgary Flames' Jarome Iginla (pictured) and Robyn Regehr returned yesterday from their Olympic experience disappointed medals weren't part of their luggage. (Calgary Sun/Jack Cusano)

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:47 PM ET

There was no heroes' welcome this time.

Then again, there were no heroes.

Flames captain Jarome Iginla and defenceman Robyn Regehr arrived yesterday morning at the Calgary International Airport from the Turin Olympics to the sounds of no hands clapping and the sights of no flags waving.

Just get your bags and go.

That's what happens when you're members of a Team Canada squad that comes home from the Olympics, not just without the gold medal but without a medal of any colour. Canada, which had won men's hockey gold in 2002, ending a 50-year drought, didn't even make it to the medal round this time.

Iginla knows slings and arrows have been fired at him and his teammates following Team Canada's quarter-final loss to Russia last Wednesday.

He understands the frustration.

"It's expected," Iginla said.

"When you go to play for Canada, you know there's a lot of pressure and anything but gold isn't good enough and we weren't even close. If (Canada finished) third or fourth, would people have been thrilled? I don't know but we wanted to win gold.

"It's passion and it's great to play a sport where the people are so passionate about it.

"I still think we have the best hockey system in the world."

Iginla, who scored twice in the tournament opener but couldn't find the twine again, knows people are wondering what went wrong.

His answer?

Not as much as people think.

He points to the razor-thin margin between winning and losing at the 2004 World Cup and the 2002 Salt Lake Games.

"In the previous tournaments, the World Cup, we won in overtime against the Czechs in the crossover -- otherwise, we wouldn't have (won the title)," he said.

"In the last Olympics, in the quarter-finals against Finland we won 2-1, a tight game. Unfortunately, this time, we didn't score that extra goal.

"When you win, you forget how close it is and what things went right.

"We got a little cold. We played well against the Swiss -- scoring chances were like 35 to eight or something like that -- but we couldn't score. I think it just snowballed from there.

"The offensive confidence, going forward, we didn't find what we needed."

Regehr, playing in his first Olympics, said the team just couldn't click, which explains why the squad lost three of its last four games by 2-0 scores.

"I don't think you can say it was one thing specifically," Regehr said.

"People will look at the offence as the most glaring with our team but it's a team game. We just never played to our full potential as a team. You try to execute as best you can, and sometimes you can do that individually, but when everyone isn't doing the things they're supposed to out there, it's tough to win hockey games."

It's time to turn the page.

The pair will be back in action tonight when the Flames host Vancouver.

"Losses always sting, especially one of that magnitude," Regehr said.

"It'll be tough to live with but we play again very quickly, games that are extremely important. We have to make sure we don't dwell on the past too much."


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