SUN Hockey Pool

Back in the line of fire

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:29 AM ET

Not only does Jarome Iginla expect to be back in action tonight but it appears he'll be reunited with an old friend.

Iginla, sidelined nearly a month with a knee injury, skated on a line in practice yesterday with recently re-acquired centre Craig Conroy. Alex Tanguay rounded out the trio on the left wing.

Iginla and Conroy were a dynamic duo for most of three seasons with the Flames, including the 2001-02 campaign in which Iginla won both the Art Ross and Rocket Richard trophies.

If Conroy does skate on a line tonight with Iginla when the Flames host the Colmbus Blue Jackets, it would separate the captain and Daymond Langkow.

Langkow and Iginla have been a lethal combination all season.

Iginla, who tried to downplay the reunion, said there was no request to skate with his old centre.

"We show up and they let us know (the lines)," he said. "There's probably a good chance we'll start that way, it usually does from day-before practices, but lines change.

"Being a forward on this team, there are a lot of cool combinations, a lot of skilled combinations. I think we'll be a quicker team and more skilled."

You can't argue against that.

Langkow's linemates yesterday were rookie David Moss and Kristian Huselius.

Line combinations, of course, are the products of head coach Jim Playfair.

"There's a lot of options," Iginla said. "Adding Conroy, there's a lot of depth for Jimmy to deal with. Kristian and Alex have been flying for a long time."

Conroy was happy to play alongside Iginla but said the final call lies with the coaches.

"If it's only for practice and Daymond goes back with him, that's not going to affect anything with me," he said. "To be able to play with him is exciting, to see what we've got.

"Coming back I said it probably wasn't going to be with Iggy, because of how well that line's been playing all year and the chemistry they have. Besides, from where I was to where I am now, I'm just happy to be back in this room. I just want to come in and help because this team has a lot of potential."

Playfair said the decision had nothing to do with generating a buzz or seeing whether Iginla and Conroy still have their chemistry despite being apart more than two years.

"It's not so much about familiarity as it is about work. Working hard and working smart together is the focal point of it," Playfair said. "There are players who fit better with certain players -- you look at right shots passing to right wingers, left shots passing to left wingers, all those things -- but does it count and does it matter? I don't know but I know when you have a line that has all parts working together, it can be a real productive line for us.

"How many times has a line started and finished the same way? I know it's exciting to look at it and see how it plays out but, at the end of the day it's about getting results on a shift-to-shift basis, so whatever works, whoever is going, will get the job done."

Besides, Iginla has more pressing concerns than worrying about rekindling the old magic with Conroy.

"I was more trying to get up to speed and keep up with him and Tangs," said Iginla, eager to return to the lineup after missing 11 games with a knee injury.

Although Iginla appeared back to form in practice yesterday, the real test will come in a game situation.


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