SUN Hockey Pool

And the rest is history ...

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

Although he was the only member of his team who didn't get a rest this weekend, Jarome Iginla returned to the ice yesterday re-energized for the second half.

Maybe it's because the NHL All-Star Game isn't much of a contest at all, or perhaps the Calgary Flames captain can relax while skating, but Iginla is recharged for the stretch drive, which begins tonight at the Saddledome against the Buffalo Sabres (6 p.m., TSN).

Iginla also got a weight off his shoulders by scoring a goal, something he hasn't done in four previous all-star outings.

"It was a break from the season because we barely warm up, there isn't any focusing before the game and it's not physical," said Iginla, who took Monday off and returned to practice yesterday.

"You don't play many games that are really about having fun. It is a nice change, but it's good to be back to get it started again."

Right before the break, Iginla broke another goal-less drought, one that lasted eight regular-season games, by scoring in a win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

He begins the final 36 games with 19 goals and 53 points -- which puts him on pace for 33 goals -- but with the Flames nine points out front in the Northwest Division heading into last night's action.

At 31, Iginla was one of the most senior players during the all-star game, which featured such 19-to-25-year olds as Patrick Kane, Ryan Getzlaf and Alex Ovechkin.

One of the biggest controversies coming out of all-star weekend was Detroit Red Wings stars Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk being handed suspended for one game apiece because they skipped the festivities.

Iginla isn't opposed to the ruling, especially now that players know they must attend or miss action.

The Flames star won't be playing hooky anytime soon.

"I hope to get invited again," Iginla said. "It's a tough thing to make. There are a lot of good players who don't get to play there. I've enjoyed the games I've been part of."


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