SUN Hockey Pool

Iginla recovery continues

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:23 PM ET

CALGARY - The only Jarome Iginla sighting Wednesday was a plain-clothes visit to join his teammates for a mandatory seminar taking place at the Westside Recreation Centre.

The Calgary Flames practised without their captain once again, although GM Jay Feaster said he’s “doing fine” and that they “anticipate he’ll be on the ice by the end of the week.”

Head coach Brent Sutter was less committal.

Then again, only Iginla really knows exactly how he’s feeling after suffering from back spasms on the first day of practice almost two weeks ago.

And Iginla isn’t talking yet.

“It’s still a day-to-day thing. When Jarome feels like he’s up to snuff to be getting on the ice, that’s when he’ll get on the ice,” said Sutter, who did sound relatively confident his captain would be able to play in the regular-season opener Oct. 8.

“The way it’s been going, the way it’s been materializing over here the last few days, there’s a really, really darn good chance he’s gonna play in our home opener, and there’s a really good chance he’ll be at practice here very soon.

“It’s his body. He’s got to be honest and tell us when it’s time. That’s when it will be.”

In the meantime, his setup man Alex Tanguay is playing the field.

He offered up a spectacular pass to newcomer Lee Stempniak for the Flames’ second goal in Tuesday night’s pre-season victory over the New York Islanders after debuting in spectacular fashion last week with Rene Bourque on his far side.

Tanguay says it doesn’t hurt to learn what it’s like to play with other combinations until his trio is reunited.

“You never know what’s going to happen through the season. We might go through injuries,” Tanguay said. “It’s nice to get to see other guys and what they’re all about, get to see their tendencies.

“It’s nice to familiarize yoruself with different players.”

The longer it takes for Iginla to return, the more you have to wonder if his back issues could flare up at times all season long, or for the rest of his career.

If that’s the case, Tanguay has a pretty valid point on getting to know more about other guys on the flanks.

And if it turns out Iginla is fine, ready, and raring to go by the end of the week and into the regular-season, Tanguay doesn’t figure it will take long before he and Iginla are back in sync.

“We would have liked to play together a little bit in training camp and build some chemistry. Same thing with Mikael (Backlund). It would have been nice to build a little chemistry and see where each other is at,” Tanguay said of the trio that finished last season together and is expected to start this year as the team’s top line.

“But Jarome and I, we’ve been playing together for a long time, with many different centremen last year. We know what we need to do to be successful.

“The biggest key for all of is working. If you put the work forward, you’re gonna get results at one point or another. If you work and work smart, you’re going to have a better chance.

“Jarome is a smart guy, I think he’ll come around very quickly and we won’t have a problem adjusting to that.”


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