SUN Hockey Pool

Scrappy Iginla punches in

Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla throws punches with Columbus Blue Jackets forward Derek...

Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla throws punches with Columbus Blue Jackets forward Derek Dorsett Friday night in Columbus during a 6-2 Flames win. JOHN GRIESHOP/GETTY IMAGES-AFP

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:09 PM ET

In Jarome Iginla’s two 50-goal seasons, another trend emerges.

Those are also the seasons in which he’s racked up a higher-than-usual number of penalty minutes.

It’s true that both times Iginla hit the big 50, he also posted a penalty-minute-per-game pace.

So maybe that first-period fight the Calgary Flames captain had with Columbus Blue Jackets pest/human missile Derek Dorsett in Friday night’s 6-2 victory is a sign Iginla is finally about to break out offensively.

“You don’t want him to get a sore hand or anything like that, and we don’t want to see him doing that too often, but he is who he is and he likes that kind of stuff,” linemate Alex Tanguay said of Iginla’s dustup. “I think it got him going.”

The three assists Iginla compiled in Columbus are a season-high. In fact, that’s his most points in a game since a hat-trick fuelled four-point outing in early March last season — which precipitated his slump with just one goal in 18 regular season games and two in 23 outings.

The pass he fired to Tanguay for the club’s fifth goal was an absolute thing of beauty.

Sure, Iginla didn’t score against Columbus — it wasn’t needed thanks to Rene Bourque’s three-goal, four-point outing — but it was a major step forward for a line needing to light some lamps.

“It’s a long season and things will come around. Those passes will come his way, I’m sure,” said Tanguay, whose playmaking skills are usually what’s front-and-centre when those two combine.

“We got something going, but I think we’ve still got a little bit more, so we’re working on that. It’s nice to get pucks in, get six goals. I know people are anxious to see our offence and people are a little nervous about our offence, but we feel we have the abilities.

“(Friday night) was a good sign of that. You can see he’s feeling the heat a bit because a lot of our offence will rely on him — he’s probably our best offensive asset — so it’s good for him to have a night like that, three assists. Hopefully, he can get a couple of shots to go in. He’s been trying to shoot pucks, and it seems it always hits something or hits the goalie.

“We’ve got a good team, and we feel we have the offensive weapons to be a threat on a nightly basis. It was a good sign of that.”

What remains to be seen is whether games like that will be the norm or the exception.

Certainly, six-goal games aren’t going to be a regular occurrence, but they shouldn’t be as rare as a comet sighting.

More importantly, a game with the effort which led to that result has to be a more consistent event.

That’s what fans are looking for. That’s what head coach Brent Sutter is looking for.

“I look at our overall team play. Jarome’s obviously one part of what we need going on here, having that push on a nightly basis. He was solid, too,” Sutter said.

Jackets head coach Scott Arniel’s post-game words should not only show how disappointed he was with his squad in that game, but also what the Flames did right.

“That was as big a meat-and-potatoes game as you could see from another hockey team,” Arniel said. “Calgary came out and it was real simple, get pucks in and go bang as much as they could.

“Some of our guys took a step back. We had guys who competed, but we had other guys who, I don’t know if they really wanted a part of that.”

Meat and potatoes is not a difficult recipe. If the Flames want more success, they should get to the kitchen.

Make that get in the opposing team’s kitchen and wear a hard hat when doing the job.

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/RandySportak


Videos

Photos