Iginla: You want to play where you're wanted

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:39 PM ET

Jarome Iginla’s honesty has caused quite a kerfuffle Wednesday at the Dome.

On the day the Flames cleared out their locker, the Flames captain admitted he would waive his no-trade clause if the organization asked.

Almost lost in the “he said what?” reaction was Iginla’s attempt to point out he didn’t intend to ask for a trade from the only team he’s played for.

Essentially, he said he doesn’t want to play in Calgary if the Flames don’t believe he can help them return to the playoffs.

“If they don’t want me here and want to move in a different direction, I would look at it,” he said after completing all the medicals and end-of-season interviews with the team brass. “You want to play where you are wanted and have people believe in you.

“If they do that, we would look at it. It wouldn’t be personal. My family has been treated very well. I want to be part of the solution here and I believe I can be. If that is what it came to, I wouldn’t take it personally. The organization has treated me well.

“They are looking at everything. I haven’t heard that or anything. My first meetings say they want me to be here. I believe I will be back.”

Having carried the franchise for the last decade and heading toward his 33rd birthday on Canada Day, you could understand Iginla wanting to pull a Ray Bourque for a shot at the Stanley Cup.

If the Flames decided they would completely rebuild, it would make sense to trade the franchise’s all-time scorer.

At this point, though, he expects there will be just minor tinkering.

“If they want me here, I want to be here. It’s not because it’s easy or comfortable. I want to win. With some adjustments, we can be a lot better than we were this year,” he said. “I want to be part of a team winning. At this point in my career, that’s what it is. It’s not about scoring 50 goals or so many points. We have the best goalie in the world (Miikka Kiprusoff) who played his best year, even better than his Vezina year. Our defence is good. We have young guys back there who will keep getting better. Up front, we do need to get better. There are some adjustments. One or two creative players could help the mix, and that would help give us a more potent offence.

“We can do it here. I’m not giving up on that. I don’t want to make them keep me either. If the team wanted to go in a different direction, it’s part of hockey. I do enjoy playing here and I do believe we can win here.”

In a frustrating season, Iginla — who struggled down the stretch to a 32-goal, 69-point campaign — has been besieged by rumours he and head coach Brent Sutter aren’t on the same page, even going as far as to suggest feud. He vehemently denied that.

“I have no issues with Brent. I think our coaching staff is well-prepared and they have won a lot. The guys bought into it,” he said. “We make mistakes on the ice and we may not look like we’re doing the right things all the time but it’s not because we don’t want to or we disagree with the coach. I read that a lot. Honestly it isn’t the case. I have a good relationship with Brent so that isn’t true.”

Sutter also shot down the rumours.

“There was no issues. It was all speculation and rumours and I’m going to leave it at that,” Sutter said. “It’s ridiculous for anyone to think otherwise. There’s always, in any hockey team or any professional team in a competitive environment, there’s always going to be discussion held and there’s always going to be players and coaches in certain times, because of the intensity of the competition, that are going to get fired up, but never to the point it becomes dysfunctional.

“It’s been kind of a laughing matter. Personally, Jarome doesn’t like the fact it keeps getting mentioned and I don’t like the fact it keeps getting mentioned because there’s no merit to it.

“That’s the truth.”


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