SUN Hockey Pool

Just call him Mr. 600

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:46 AM ET

When you think of Jarome Iginla, you think of goals.

You remember his Rocket Richard Trophy winning totals of 52 and 41 tallies.

You can picture the way he has taken complete control of important games and come up with the timely score at the most critical point in the contest.

So it comes as no surprise the 29-year-old Calgary Flame is about to break the 300-goal plateau in his 10th NHL season.

He needs just three more snipes -- a mere hat-trick -- to start his climb to the next milestone.

The surprising aspect of the looming achievement is he could conceivably net his 300th assist and 600th point in the same game as early as tonight in front of a home crowd against the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets (7 p.m., Sportsnet).

Iginla needs just one more helper to go with the hat-trick for an even split at 600 points -- a major offensive milestone in itself that many never reach in this league.

The always-modest Iginla was tied up in a league meeting after practice yesterday but his teammates were more than happy to talk about their captain's upcoming milestones.

Tony Amonte, who has more than 400 in each category himself, admits 600 points is a telling statistic.

"It's always nice to reach a milestone but you don't really think about it at the time. You just keep on playing and go, you're more focused on the day-to-day aspects of things," said the veteran of nearly 15 seasons. "But it's a hell of a milestone."

And Amonte sees many more of them in his current captain's future.

"He's still an unbelievable goal scorer. He's got a lot of time left in this league," said Amonte. "I think 300 is just the tip of the iceberg for him."

Asked if he remembers his 300th goal, which came in Amonte's 10th season, the 36-year-old laughs.

"Not really," he said. "I think I have a puck laying around somewhere at home or something -- 300th goal -- but I couldn't tell you when I scored it, against who."

As impressive as the thought of 600 NHL points is to Darren McCarty, the idea Iginla is creeping up on Flames franchise records for goals (364, held by Theoren Fleury) and games played (Iginla is 62 behind the record of 803 by Al MacInnis in Flames silks) is even more important to the longtime Red Wing.

McCarty said there won't be much fanfare in the coming days as Iginla continues his climb.

"Those are just numbers that he's going to mildly acknowledge as he passes them and moves on to 4, 5 and 600," said McCarty. "He's a guy that definitely can do it."

And the fact Iginla's impressive offensive numbers are so equally divided doesn't surprise him, either.

"A lot of guys who are pegged goal scorers in this league, they're great playmakers," said McCarty. "Iggy's one of them, too. Everybody thinks Iggy's just a shooter, shooter, shooter but he definitely can pass it around, too."

Amonte adds the split shows what kind of character Iginla exemplifies.

"It just speaks to what kind of player he is. An unselfish player," said Amonte. "He cares about his teammates scoring just as much as he cares about scoring himself."

Flames head coach Jim Playfair agrees the separate stat tallies tell the story of how well-rounded a player Iginla has become.

"When Jarome came into the league, people were wondering whether he's going to be a goal scorer, an assist guy, a physical player -- what was his long-term goal was going to be, his long-term identity. He's balanced out to be a really solid player," said Playfair.

"You know that he's put a lot of work in, takes great pride in both sides of the puck play -- shooting and passing. I think it's pretty neat when you see a player get 600 points and it's just about split right up the middle. That's pretty unique in the game."


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