SUN Hockey Pool

Slow 'n' steady gets it done

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

Game after game, the record has inched closer.

Each tilt, another step is taken towards grasping it.

No, we're not talking about the Calgary Flames' home-ice winning streak -- which, at nine, is equal to the franchise mark with a shot for 10 tomorrow against the Minnesota Wild. It's another impressive run.

Quietly -- not that you'd expect otherwise -- Daymond Langkow has collected a point in eight-straight games, one shy of his personal mark reached in the 2000-01 campaign.

Not that Langkow is thinking a whole lot about it.

Asked after Saturday night's win over Vancouver if he knew what his personal best was, Langkow said he hadn't a clue. He wasn't really sure who he played for at the time -- knowing it was either Phoenix or Philadelphia.

"I've never had a terribly long streak that's something to remember," he said. "It's nice but, at the same time, it's about winning and that's what I'm focused on.

"When you're losing, guys are grumpy around the room but when you're winning, it's a good feeling."

For the record, it was with the Flyers he went on a nine-game run. Against the Wild, he'll try to hit that mark again and continue a streak that's seen him collect two goals and nine assists.

It's not that Langkow isn't proud of garnering points each game, it's just not in his makeup to thump his chest.

"That's the fun part of the game but it's a lot more than that," he explained. "I'm playing with a couple of pretty decent players (Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay) and it's about being accountable and not wanting to let your teammates down.

"I'm a quiet guy, like to keep to myself, and that's the way I like to keep it."

That low-key approach goes beyond the media. His agent, Tom Laidlaw, once spent a few days trying to track down Langkow because -- having not heard from him in so long -- he wanted to ask the centre if he was still his agent.

It's not that Langkow doesn't enjoy kibitzing, it's just he doesn't look for the spotlight.

It's one way to get the media to leave him alone, he said with a grin: "Yeah, that's probably it.

"There are guys who really enjoy that part of it, being in the spotlight and the cameras but it's not me. I can't explain it, it's the way I am."

Not to say he doesn't let loose with a verbal volley once in a while.

"You guys just don't see it. He's not nearly as quiet as he appears in the room," Iginla said. "He's a quiet guy but he does get going. He's got a dry sense of humour and dishes it out. Behind the scenes, he lets loose with the guys. He takes a bit and dishes out a lot."

Besides, if Langkow keeps going along at the rate he's been, nobody will complain.

With eight goals and 17 assists through 27 games, he's on pace to crack the 70-point mark for the first time in his career. The 52-assist pace is actually equal to the point totals Langkow reached in his final two seasons with the Coyotes.

Iginla isn't surprised to see Langkow having that kind of a breakthrough at age 30.

"His skill ... is great but what comes to mind about him is there are no off nights," said Iginla, who's on an impressive run of his own, with goals in five straight games. "He's a very consistent player. No one outworks him. There are no days when you say, 'He had a tough game.' He's there every game to battle and compete."

Langkow's season is adding up to the kind of numbers expected last season.

True, his 2005-06 totals (25 goals, 59 points) were only three points off his career high but not what fans, the media or even Langkow, for that matter, thought he was capable of.

"When I got traded and with (Craig) Conroy leaving, I knew I'd probably have a shot to play with Iggy. I played with him at the world juniors (in 1996) and we played really well together, I thought, so

I was looking forward to it," he said. "Last year ... there was a lot of hype and we had a slow start but I think we did what we had to do to win.

"This year, offensively, it feels we're clicking a little bit better. With Tangs, the last couple of weeks, have been a lot of fun."

What wasn't known last year was that Langkow arrived in camp well under his playing weight due to illness and -- combined with the adjustments of a new city and new teammates -- made for a tough go in the first half of the season.

"I weighed in at 173 pounds or something and I'm always 183, 185. I don't like talking about it because it sounds like your're making excuses and you have to play through that.

"I thought it might have had something to do with the altitude, which it probably did a little bit, but energy-wise, it was a battle to get through games a lot of nights."

Being at full health and feeling stronger from the opening day is making this season so much better.

"Battling in the corners and in front of the net, yeah. Last year, I got quite a few goals being in front of the net and tipping shots," he said. "It's not working out that way this year but it's more of a mental thing. Physically, if you feel good, you'll get the job done."

Game after game.

ICE CHIPS:

The Flames sent LW Brandon Prust and D Richie Regehr to the AHL's Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights ... An update on the health of D Rhett Warrener, who left late in the Vancouver game and didn't return, won't be available until today ... Don't be surprised to see C Stephane Yelle, out since mid-October with a broken ankle, return to action against the Wild.


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