SUN Hockey Pool

'C' for Iggy at all-star affair

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:10 AM ET

Jarome Iginla's third trip to the NHL All-Star Game is coming with another highlight.

The Calgary star, voted to the contest by the fans, was yesterday named captain of the Western Conference squad, the first Flames player to ever receive that distinction.

"It's a real honour. It's gonna be a special all-star game," Iginla said.

"To get voted in as a starter and to be named captain of the team is a thrill. I can remember when I got to my first all-star game, and what a rush that was and what a great time.

"I didn't even think of one day getting the chance to be the captain at the game or be a starter by the fans.

"It's really cool, and I'm really looking forward to it."

Tampa Bay Lightning standout Vincent Lecavalier was named captain of the Eastern Conference team.

It's just the latest accolade for Iginla, who is fourth in the league's scoring race with 62 points and third in goal scoring with 32.

He's been named the league's first-half MVP by many media outlets.

"He's had a tremendous year so far," said centre Daymond Langkow.

"That's great for him. He deserves it."

RUMOUR RUMBLINGS

The Flames have become one of the favourites regarding trade rumours of late.

Over the past few days, the rumour mill has been fed with news Montreal Canadiens assistant GM Pierre Gauthier has been on-hand for the last two Flames games, scouts for the Florida Panthers have been regularly watching the team and Flames GM Darryl Sutter was at last night's Toronto-Boston clash.

There are rumblings the club may deal Alex Tanguay and his salary -- despite his no-trade clause -- to the Montreal Canadiens for pending unrestricted free agent Michael Ryder or to the Florida Panthers for Olli Jokinen or to the Toronto Maple Leafs as a centrepiece in a deal for Mats Sundin.

With Ryder and Sundin both pending UFAs, the theory would be to get rid of Tanguay's salary of US$5.375 million next season to have funds for re-signing the likes of Kristian Huselius or Daymond Langkow -- both also pending UFAs -- as well as cash needed to re-sign pending restricted free agent Dion Phaneuf.

Should a deal bring in Jokinen, who the Panthers have repeatedly said won't be traded, it would provide a front-line centre signed through the next two seasons for US$10.75 million.

Either way, expect the Flames to be followed by the rumour mongers until the Feb. 26 trade deadline.

SHOOTOUT FALLOUT

Miikka Kiprusoff was the least-surprised person when he saw Minnesota Wild's Brian Rolston wind up and take a slap shot in the shootout of Wednesday's 3-2 win.

Nor did the goalie mind.

However, he doesn't believe Rolston -- who has scored several shootout goals with that technique -- was doing it in retaliation for Dion Phaneuf's high, hard blast on Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom just seconds before.

"Guys are trying to score," Kiprusoff said. "I was hoping he would hit my shoulder, so I'd have stopped it. That next guy coming in, Rolston, he has a pretty hard slap-shot, too. When they don't miss the net, it's not an easy shot to stop."

Theories abound Phaneuf's shot was to soften up Backstrom, who appeared hurt for a few seconds.

"He's trying to score -- there's no doubt about that," said Langkow. "He shoots the puck hard and is trying to pick a corner there.""


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