Cheers won’t be raining down from the stands for Jarome Iginla when he steps on the ice this time.
The Vancouver Games are over. Canada Hockey Place has reverted to GM Place, and Iginla is once again a hated rival.
Back to the visitors dressing room for Sunday night’s game against the Canucks, Iginla will be trying to score against Olympic teammate Roberto Luongo, not patting him on the back.
“I wouldn’t say there’s any extra, there’s always enough motivation there,” Iginla said Saturday of facing Luongo after the two won gold together just a couple of weeks ago. “It’s business.”
Since the two mined gold at Canada Hockey Place, they’ve gone in different directions.
Iginla has been hot. Luongo has come under fire for some sketchy performances.
He wasn’t exactly the picture of perfection against the world’s best, but Luongo has always given the Flames fits.
“That’s what we expect to see every time,” said Iginla, who has four goals and seven points in five post-Olympic games.
The golden glow has followed him around.
“I’m thrilled the way it worked out,” Iginla said.
And he wasn’t just talking about the gold medal. He feels the tournament took his play to another level.
“I think the Olympics is good for the guys who played there. I think it’s good for your game,” Iginla said. “It’s playoff hockey. The speed is faster than the regular-season. Every game is like the Game 7. Even the countries that don’t do as well, they can all skate.
“It gets you moving again. It gets you going at top speed. It gets you going like the playoffs. I think there’s a positive for players coming out of it. I felt it coming out of all three Olympics. It’s playoffs before the playoffs.”
With all the energizing memories he made there, don’t be surprised if Iginla takes a quick glance down the hallway to the Canucks dressing room. He called it home for a couple of glorious weeks.
“It’s very nice. They renovated it,” Iginla said with a laugh. “It was pretty spectacular, there’s no question.
“They live well there.
“It looked like a lot different place with the way they had it set up for the Olympics. With the stands all red everywhere, it definitely didn’t feel like the regular Vancouver.”
A quick look up into the stands packed with the Canucks colours instead of Team Canada’s faithful in red and white will remind Iginla what he’s playing for now.
And which side he’s on.