SUN Hockey Pool

Iggy's latest 'Yeah, baby!'

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:58 AM ET

Big news at the unofficial start to the Flames' season two years ago centred around the Jarome Iginla's weight -- the pounds he dropped to adapt to the post-lockout NHL.

At the Calgary Flames Celebrity Charity Golf Classic yesterday, the questions were about Iginla's wait.

The Flames captain spent much of his summer anticipating the birth of his third child. His and wife Kara's second son, Joe, was born last month.

"We were looking forward to that the whole time," said Iginla.

"It's good to get back. I love fall and this time of year."

As warm months quickly passed, Iginla had more than just the birth of Joe -- which was Jarome's nickname growing up -- to look forward to.

He also watches with great enthusiasm as July 1 rolls around. Not only did Iginla turn 31 on that day, but the start of free agency captured his attention.

The Flames said goodbye to winger Kristian Huselius after dealing away another offensive flanker, the disgruntled Alex Tanguay, at the draft and bringing Mike Cammalleri aboard minutes later.

Grizzled veteran Owen Nolan also left town as a free agent.

To plug the gaps, general manager Darryl Sutter brought in Albertans Curtis Glencross and Rene Bourque. He inked Todd Bertuzzi, re-signed Brandon Prust to a one-way contract, and mentioned he'd like to see the younger players already on his team take on bigger roles.

It's definitely an overhauled Flames team that will take the ice late next week.

With new players and prospects making the rounds during yesterday's tournament at Heritage Pointe, the name-tags came in handy.

Iginla's spent less than a minute pinned to his chest as he pocketed it while walking away from the registration table.

Not that he needed it.

But the name tags certainly came in handy for Glencross, Bourque, and even Cammalleri, along with the many youngsters who open rookie camp today with fitness testing at the Saddledome.

"We lost some very good players that were big parts of our team -- and they're going to help the teams they went to, no question -- but the people we brought in are very good also," said Iginla of the new-look Flames.

"I'd say that we're probably a little grittier, and maybe a little bigger, but I think we still have that skilled side."

Too many goals against was what plagued the Flames last year, so the team hopes the grittier, defensively conscious additions will make the difference after a third consecutive first-round playoff exit.

"You've got to be able to play more than one-dimensional," said Iginla.

"I think it's gonna be great, and I'm really looking forward to it."

For those wondering whether Iginla stayed slimmer for a third straight season, he did.

It wasn't easy, though.

"It was fun coming down, trying to get there," Iginla said with a laugh about his initial weight loss of about a dozen pounds.

"It's harder to stay there."


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