CALGARY - The theory is obvious.
The NHL all-star game, as much as it can be fun for players to attend and a showcase for the league, is not time well spent for players.
Therefore, those such as Jarome Iginla — the Calgary Flames captain who will attend his sixth game this weekend in Ottawa — would be better served using the break for some downtime.
That way, so the theory goes, he’d be refreshed by some days off and therefore more prolific down the stretch while the playoff chase cranks onto a high gear.
But trust Iginla to prove he’s not been affected after the all-star game in seasons past.
In the five previous seasons Iginla has gone to the all-star games, he’s always returned with a vengeance.
The only time he wasn’t a point-per-game player or better in the regular season clashes which followed the game was the 2003-04 season, in which he managed 27 points in the final 28 games of the season. However, that was actually a better clip in both his goals (17) and points than Iginla compiled prior to heading out of town for the game.
It helped that Iginla returned from the 2004 game in St. Paul, Minn., and promptly went on a five-game goal-scoring streak to pace the club to its first playoff berth in eight years, and go on to the seventh game of the Stanley Cup final.
And just think, his production immediately after the 2004 outing pales in comparison to a few of the other times.
Take Iginla’s response after his first trip to an all-star game, during the 2001-02 season.
In the 29 games following the event in Los Angeles, Iginla racked up 20 goals and 38 points, and went on to become the first Flames player to win the Art Ross Trophy with 96 points and the Rocket Richard Trophy with 52 goals.
He netted 11 goals and 21 points in the 13 games immediately after the game.
Or what about the 2002-03 season? Iginla returned from the game in Florida by netting 13 goals in 11 outings and compiled 20 goals and 31 points in 28 games down the stretch.
The last time Iginla attended an all-star game, 2009, also helped him springboard to a strong final push — 16 goals and 36 points in 36 games.
So, Flames fans shouldn’t yet fear the 34-year-old Iginla will struggle mightily down the stretch.
His history goes against that negative potential.
Maybe that’s the tradeoff Iginla has received in return for managing just one goal and two assists over the course of his five all-star game appearances.
And you know the Flames, and the captain, will take a red-hot finish over a couple of tallies in a meaningless affair.