Fights part of Iggy's game

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 2:55 PM ET


 Most Hart Trophy candidates don't feel the need to drop the gloves. Snipers who win scoring titles are protected at all costs.

 Jarome Iginla is not your average MVP, however. He prefers to fight his own battles, as he did Saturday when he chucked 'em with mammoth Detroit Red Wings blueliner Derian Hatcher late in Game 2 of their conference semifinal.

 And while Flames fans cringe every time the all-star drops the mitts, fearing an injury to his talented hands, head coach Darryl Sutter wouldn't have it any other way.

 "He does it four or five times a year and he does it for two reasons -- because he was hit dirty or someone on his team was," Sutter said. "That's a great quality that he's got.

 "Is Brendan Shanahan going to do that once or twice a year? That's those guys' identity. It's huge. It's part of his persona and it's a great attribute."

 Iginla has taken matters into his own hands twice already in these playoffs -- also battling Vancouver defenceman Mattias Ohlund in their first-round series.

 "He doesn't go looking for it," Sutter insisted. "The two (fights) he's had in the playoffs, one was because of an uncalled penalty and the other one, he didn't start that."

 When reminded replays showed Iginla hacking Hatcher in the back of the legs and demanding a throw down, Sutter wasn't having any of it.

 "Do you think that was the start of it? It's right after the (anthem) is sang. That's when it starts."

 Hatcher said he didn't believe too many leading scorers from around the league would be willing to get into a scrap.

 "I don't think so," he told the Detroit Free Press. "That's why they covet him so much -- not only can he score but he's a big, physical guy as well."

 Iginla, who scored four goals and added three helpers after his Game 3 scrap with Ohlund, said he wasn't trying to send a message for the remainder of this series.

 "It wasn't a message, it was just about competing," Iginla said. "The fight happened because he slashed me, I slashed him and neither of us liked it so that was the result.

 "Fighting's part of the game. In the history of the game, it has an important place. The guys I've always looked up to -- Shanahan, (Mark) Messier. They fought way more than I do. I'm not trying to get into fights and I'm not trying to avoid them. I don't worry about getting injured."

 If this were the regular season, Hatcher would surely be expecting a dance invitation from Flames tough guy Krzysztof Oliwa. But the enforcer knows he can't afford to take a penalty to settle the score.

 "You won't get away with things that you would in the regular season," said Oliwa. "So you can't protect (Iginla) as much as you want to. At the same time, he's a big man and a strong guy. You don't want him to get hurt obviously but sometimes it happens."


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