Ho-hum dinger

RANDY SPORTAK, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 7:58 AM ET

Jarome Iginla and the teammates who were around at the time remember his chase for 50 goals back during the 2001-02 season.

It was all-consuming and so electrifying for so many reasons.

This time around, not so much.

Iginla heads into tonight's clash with the rival Edmonton Oilers needing one goal for 50.

When he accomplished the feat his first time, the Flames were nowhere near the playoff chase, so it was about the only reason to follow the club down the stretch.

It was the first time a Flame would reach the milestone in what seemed like an eternity.

Plus, Iginla was on the way to winning the scoring race, finishing atop with 52 goals and 96 points.

This time around, though, the buzz is non-existent, even with the Calgary captain.

"The focus is winning games because the games are so big right now," said Iginla. "At the same time, we all have different roles and bring different things. I don't prepare any differently and it doesn't make me really any more nervous. My job is to try to score goals, be part of the offence."

Still, should Iginla reach the milestone tonight, there would be an extra benefit or two.

In the Saddledome -- amidst the growing Sea of Red anticipating the playoffs -- against his hometown team would be a far cry from inside a half-empty cavernous United Center in Chicago, where he hit 50 six years ago.

"Oh, I'd like to (do it tonight), but if our next game was on the road, I'd like to do it next game," he said with that trademark smile. "I don't think it's in a selfish way. When you're on the bench, you get into tight games, you want to go out and be a difference, score goals as a line, score goals as a player."

Defenceman Robyn Regehr is probably more excited for Iginla than the captain himself.

"You want to see your teammates succeed, for him especially. I think everybody that's ever known or played with Jarome knows what a great person he is and a great player, too," Regehr said. "I don't think there's anybody out there that doesn't want to see him succeed, except for the opposition that night.

"When a team doesn't succeed and a person excels, there's always questions about that player. I know that year he didn't win awards because our team wasn't a playoff team," he added. "When team success comes with personal success, it's even better. There are no questions to be asked like he faced in 2002 when he scored all those goals and we were 13th, I think, I've tried to forget."

Actually, it was 11th, but the point remains the same.

"We were out of the playoffs, so there was a lot of talk about it, and I'd never been there before," Iginla said. "The guys wanted it to happen, were cheering me on, fans were cheering me on. This time, it's part of the process.

"I don't look at it that I'm trying to get one more goal. I'm trying to get one every game. It doesn't work out that way, but I think if I get enough good shots, get into position because I'm playing with such good playmakers, it will happen."

Then again, Iginla's chase for 50 may have taken a back burner to the fact Alex Ovechkin has cracked the 60-goal mark, the first NHLer in more than a decade to reach that feat.

That shouldn't diminish Iginla's achievement, Regehr said.

"Look at how many years this team went with no 50-goal scorers. It's not something that easily happens," Regehr said. "There are some great goal scorers in the game and it's exciting to have that back, but even though Ovechkin has scored 60, Jarome's had one heck of a year."


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