SUN Hockey Pool

Flames’ Jackman on a career-high

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:04 PM ET

He seems like an unlikely hero in the fastest skater, hardest shot or accuracy competitions and won't be selected to anchor Team Red's entry in the breakaway or puck-control relays.

And unfortunately for Calgary Flames grinder Tim Jackman, Sunday's Danone SuperSkills Competition at the Saddledome doesn't include a rebounding race or forechecking showdown.

Hard-hitting National Hockey League demolition derbies are better showcases for his skill-set -- and that's hardly a bad thing.

"He's obviously got a lot more skill than certainly a lot of people give him credit for," said fellow Flames forward and sometimes-linemate David Moss. "That's just kind of the stereotype of fourth-liners in the NHL -- that they have not as good hands or whatever -- but you see (Jackman) around the net and he's as good as anyone at finding pucks and burying them."

He's shown it lately.

The rugged winger was held off the scoresheet in Friday's 5-4 shootout loss to the Detroit Red Wings at the Saddledome, ending his point-streak at a career-high five games.

While Jackman certainly would've preferred to extend his spurt of offensive success to a half-dozen contests, you get the feeling he won't miss the media attention that came with it.

Asked after Thursday's practice session to pinpoint the timing of his last five-game run, Jackman just shrugged his shoulders.

"I'm guessing it was in the American Hockey League a few years ago," he said. "But I don't recall. Can't remember."

The following day, encircled by a gang of media-types and television cameras, the soft-spoken scrapper provided even less information in response to the same question, simply saying "not for a while."

He won't soon forget his recent run.

Jackman celebrated the first game-winning goal of his NHL career against the Colorado Avalanche and tickled the twine in meetings with the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks.

He also collected three helpers during that five-game span, teaming with Moss and Tom Kostopoulos to form a unit so effective it was split up in an attempt to spread their energy across three different lines.

"It's always nice to chip in on the scoresheet," Jackman said. "It's great. It's always fun to score, but that's not the reason that we're here."

Consider it a bonus.

The 29-year-old winger with the two-year, US$1.1-million deal has already scored six times, establishing a new career-high with his late tally in Wednesday's 3-1 loss to the Canucks, and has contributed five assists.

With enforcer Raitis Ivanans sidelined since the season-opener, Jackman has also embraced the role of policeman, dropping his mitts 10 times -- including bouts with bonafide heavyweights such as Deryk Engelland and Jared Boll -- and racking up a team-high 70 penalty minutes.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder arrived in Calgary with 43 partners already listed on his NHL dance card, so the fights were expected. Jackman insists the goals should have been, too.

"I believe that this is the way I can play," he said. "I don't think it's luck."

His teammates believe it, too.

"He goes to the net. He plays the game right. He plays hard. And when you do those things, pucks will find you," Moss said. "He'll go to battle and he's definitely a good guy to have on your team."

twitter.com/WesGilbertson


Photos