Flames runnin' out of time

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:30 PM ET

CALGARY Its now or never for the Calgary Flames, and a lot of people around the NHL are betting on never.

But 15 years into his stay in Cowtown, with their window to win a championship cracked and closing fast, Jarome Iginla keeps hope alive.

Last year was disappointing for sure, the longtime captain said of last seasons 10th place finish in the West. I think were going to be a better team this year. I really believe that, I think all the guys in the room believe that. We believe in each other here.

With a past that doesnt look so hot (just one trip past the first round in the last 21 years) and a future that doesnt seem all that bright (they didnt have a pick until the third round in last years draft and dont have a second- or third-round pick in the next one) Calgary has no choice but invest heavily in the here and now.

Right now sounds good, grinned Iginla, who becomes an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2013. In the off-season there was definitely a lot of talk. Was the organization going to rebuild? Was it going to keep trying to win now? I want to win now. Im happy that they went that route and I think we can. I think we have a better team than weve had here for a while.

They need to hurry, though. The Flames dressed a lineup Tuesday in which the average age was just under 30, and that was without injured greybeards Daymond Langkow and Ales Kotalik to push the average even higher. Its not cardigan and slipper time in the dressing room just yet, but it seems like a team every bit as close being blown up as it does to winning a title.

For Iginla, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time Memorial Cup champion, a Stanley Cup means everything.

I dont know if I think about it in terms of a legacy or anything like that, I just want to win, said the 33-year-old. I just want to win and experience that and be a part of it. I think it would be an amazing, awesome experience to win in Canada, to win in Calgary.

Ive played here a long time and Im having as much fun as I ever had playing, but it is about winning. I just want to experience it. Ive been very blessed to be part of different championships over my career, but not a Stanley Cup. But I do think its possible. I know theres a lot of time left in the season, but I think we have a good team. I think its possible.

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca


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