Iginla, Regehr shoulder Flames fate

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:58 AM ET

CALGARY — The core of the Calgary Flames leadership group has been pruned.

Whether it was the right parts pared away with the trades which sent Dion Phaneuf to Toronto and Olli Jokinen to the New York Rangers can be debated.

The end result, however, now revolves around who remains and the role they must play.

The Flames fate this season rests most on the shoulders of the two big parts in that leadership group who have most under-performed — Jarome Iginla and Robyn Regehr.

Amidst the chaos surrounding the team lately and the trades which brought six new faces to the organization, the Flames need their two longest-serving members to step forward.

If they don’t do it now, they’ll both lose their lofty status in this city.

Surf the internet or listen to the water cooler talk, fans are questioning Iginla and Regehr.

For good reason.

Both haven’t been up to snuff on a consistent basis this season.

Both haven’t provided the spark necessary when the club needs it.

Both haven’t been the leaders needed during this tailspin.

Both were reminded Tuesday they must set the standard.

“It’s been a message that’s been there all year, but at some point it’s got to clue in,” said head coach Brent Sutter, talking about not only those two but the whole leadership group. “That was an embarrassing loss (Monday) night. I’m not happy the way we played at home, and every game now has to be like playoff hockey.

“It’s got to start at the top and work its way down right through the whole club.

“Those guys have to push that through, or it’s like beating your head against a wall. We can preach and talk until we’re blue in the face, show (video), get mad, upset, pat guys on the back and all that stuff, but at some point let’s respond to this and let’s get going. That’s what will allow us to have success.”

Prior to practice, the club’s leadership group had a meeting with GM Darryl Sutter.

Regehr was asked whether it was akin to being brought into the principal’s office, which he experienced a couple of times when he was suspended from school.

Asked whether he’d rather be called into Sutter’s office or deal with his father after being suspended, Regehr replied: “It’s a coin toss.”

It’s not hard to guess what the message was.

What remains to be seen is whether anything changes.

A team which has just one victory in its last 11 games, the Flames have been guilty too often of lacking emotion, lacking work ethic and lacking intensity.

Every player is responsible to ensure they’re ready to play to their peak abilities, but extra onus falls on the leaders to help ignite their teammates.

“When you have changes as abruptly and as many so quickly, it does a send a message to all of us,” Iginla said. “We know what it is and we know where we are and we know how we’ve been playing and where we need to go. I’m excited about the new group, excited about the new faces. They seem to be generally happy to be here, which is great, and we’re looking forward to being a lot better than we were last game.”

Iginla and Regehr have to start leading the way, not only on the ice but also create the right atmosphere.

“For those guys to show them that’s the way it is, they’ve got to do it right. That’s really, really important,” Brent Sutter said. “Bottom line is it’s 56 games into the season and we’re at a point where there’s stuff you can’t accept. We need everybody to be part of helping solve this instead of being a problem for it. Let’s everyone help to get it rectified.”


Videos

Photos