SUN Hockey Pool

Flames feed off extra energy

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:38 AM ET

Jarome Iginla is used to being inside large media swarms. It's a regular occurrence for him.

But the mob that awaited the Calgary Flames captain after yesterday's morning skate was a quick reminder it was no normal day.

The Leafs were in town, and that means more energy in the Saddledome, more buzz in the city and more media.

Much, much more media.

"There's always extra excitement around the city when Toronto comes. You don't get to see them a lot," Iginla said. "Every team around the league, when Toronto and Montreal -- with the history and what that brings -- come to town, they like to see them. It's nice to play other Canadian cities, especially when you don't see them a lot."

Does that extra charge translate into more jump on the ice?

"The fans get a little extra excited," Iginla said. "There's more energy. They're always excited for Toronto and Montreal, and you feed off that.

"I'd say we feed off that more than the extra media attention."

The Maple Leafs haven't played in Calgary since January 2006. The teams didn't meet last season because of the league's absurd unbalanced schedule. This season, they'll also face each other in March in Toronto.

For Flames rookie winger Brandon Prust, it was his first chance to face the club he grew up rooting for, which means a little extra spark.

"For sure. You want to bring the same intensity every night, but it's a little different playing the Leafs," said Prust, who hails from London, Ont. "It's the team I grew up watching on TV, every Saturday night at home with my dad watching the game. You do that long enough and then get to play against them makes it something special.

"But they're definitely not friends any more.

"I think the (Remembrance Day) holiday creates more buzz, too. Nobody's got anything better to do after going to the ceremonies than go to a hockey game."

Although he knows so many friends and family can regularly tune in Flames games, Toronto product Mark Giordano said a little extra boost comes with a game against a team he knows draws more viewers back home.

"It's fun. I know a lot of family will be watching and a lot of friends," he said. "When you grow up in a city where a team like the Leafs are as big as they are, you always get a little bigger feeling when you play against them. It's a good experience."

That was a good experience, since the last time he faced the Leafs, he scored twice, including his first NHL goal.


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