Here's hoping Iggy will snap out of it

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

In an ESPN poll of nearly 200 NHL players, Jarome Iginla was named the league's best leader, receiving 22% of the votes.

The Flames could sure use that Iginla to step forward soon.

Two-thirds of the way through the season, the Flames captain is not the player we've relished watching for so many seasons.

Sure, off the ice he's the same hard-working and engaging person -- two of his biggest attributes -- but on the ice, Iginla has not seemed right all season and is now floundering offensively.

Since his five-point game New Year's Eve against the Edmonton Oilers, Iginla has just two goals in 18 games and none in the last six.

He's collected 12 assists in that stretch and moved within one point of Al MacInnis for second spot on the franchise's all-time points list, but isn't providing the same punch.

At this rate, he'll be a 30-goal, 90-point player. Sure, it's nothing to sneeze at, but it's the impact that's been missing.

He hasn't carried the team over a final hurdle when needed -- such as in the third period of the 3-2 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks.

The fact Michael Cammalleri has surpassed Iginla in goals isn't the end of the world. It was bound to happen that somebody else on the Flames would have a better season. It's impressive how the team is in first place through such a scenario, actually.

The fact players like Rene Bourque, Daymond Langkow and David Moss aren't far back, too, should be cause for concern. Not because they're not good players, but more indicting of Iginla's affect.

He still has time to find top form before the playoffs.

And seeing as Miikka Kiprusoff has his game in order after a tough start and Dion Phaneuf is showing signs of coming out of his season-long malaise, it's a good bet Iginla can do the same, too.

Iginla has a history as a big-game player. The Flames and their fans better hope he starts to find the gear needed to be ready when the big game comes.

Otherwise, those Stanley Cup hopes will disappear very quickly.

FLAMING C-NOTES

At the rate he's been playing, Dion Phaneuf won't be on Canada's 2010 Olympic team. Too many other young defencemen -- Shea Weber and Mike Green, for example -- must be supplanting him. Unless Phaneuf starts to be better defensively and puts up offence at the same time, he'll be watching the tournament while on vacation. The good news is his game is again looking on the upswing with big hits in both Anaheim and Los Angeles. That said, Phaneuf shouldn't have to fend off opposing players every time he dishes out a big hit like he did on Anaheim's Andrew Ebbett the other night. By the way, wasn't it priceless that Chris Pronger was the one looking for retribution for what he believed was a dirty hit -- it wasn't ... Speaking of Pronger, how about the job Rene Bourque did being physical on the Ducks defenceman in that game? ... For those thinking the Flames will find a way to re-sign Michael Cammalleri, consider the four-year, US$18.8-million contract inked by Blues centre Andy McDonald. Unless the Flames ride themselves of a serious amount of salary, such Cory Sarich and Jim Vandermeer, it's pretty much impossible.

HOCKEY TALKY

Calgary Hitmen head coach Dave Lowry deserves a ton of credit for the job he's done with the WHL squad. Sure makes you wonder how quickly he'll be coaching at the next level. That said, the hockey world is filled with coaches who have had success at the junior ranks and can't seem to get a sniff ... How brutal is it that Montreal's Tomas Plekanec was only given two games for his cheapshot on Edmonton Oilers defenceman Denis Grebeshkov Wednesday night. In the chase for an iced puck, Plekanec took out Grebeshkov's feet and sent him to the injury list. It's brutal because Plekanec did something very similar to Robyn Regehr two nights earlier in Calgary. By the way, Plekanec also kicked Philadelphia defenceman Kimmo Timonen when the Flyers defenceman was down on the ice in last year's playoffs ... Classy move by the Detroit Red Wings to give former players from the Stanley Cup teams of the 1950s copies of the rings given to the 2008 team with their names on one side and extra diamonds symbolizing their championships. "When UPS called to see if they could deliver it, they wanted to know if I was a jewelry dealer because of the value of it," hall-of-famer Marcel Pronovost told the Windsor Star ... John Paddock had to do some backtracking, but the former Ottawa Senators head coach -- now head coach of the AHL Philadelphia Phantoms -- was right on the mark in saying Sens GM Bryan Murray is next in line to be fired and the team's players "are not very good, that's the problem."

YOU DON'T SAY?

"They're the cockiest last-place team in the league."

-- Buffalo Sabres centre Adam Mair, commenting about the Ottawa Senators on his radio show on WGR.

RANDY.SPORTAK@SUNMEDIA.CA


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