SUN Hockey Pool

Iginla doesn't believe bad ol' days are back

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:35 AM ET

COLUMBUS -- Flames fans may be experiencing a case of deja vu.

But Jarome Iginla insists he isn't having flashbacks.

Sure, the first month of the Flames season may bring back memories of the team's not-so-distant dark days but Iginla says you can't compare the current team to the squads that missed the playoffs for seven straight seasons.

"We've got better personnel and the potential for more wins," said Iginla, who was with the Flames for all seven of those playoff-free seasons, from 1996-97 through 2003-04.

"If you look at those teams, we were still rebuilding and trying to turn it around. Everyone on our team doesn't believe we're rebuilding, we believe we are good now.

"Back then, we were being asked when we'd turn it around. I don't think we were as capable as we are now ... We know there's more potential to start winning games consistently."

The Flames, the Northwest Division cellar-dwellers with seven points in 11 games, are on a three-game losing skid heading into tonight's clash against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Calgary is seven points behind the eighth-place Edmonton Oilers.

"We've dug ourselves a hole," Iginla said.

"Nobody in our room is feeling, 'It's early.' It's now.

"We need to stop this and start winning and start climbing back."

Of course, the mystery is how the Flames are in their predicament. This is virtually the same team that won the Northwest Division crown last season with a 103-point campaign.

Instead of gaining momentum, they appear to be struggling more and more with each outing.

Iginla is perplexed as to why this squad is failing to execute a system that has been in place for years.

"Yeah, it's a lot of the same guys, and we even added good guys, guys you want to add and know can make a difference," Iginla said.

"We're in a rut and have to work our way out of it."

Naturally, Iginla remains positive. Last year's Flames team limped out of the gates -- 4-7-2 through the first 13 games -- but still went on to an excellent regular season, kick-started by an eight-game winning streak in November.

"It's a lot of that same team and we may do that again, win nine out of 10 or whatever, to climb back in," said Iginla.


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