Iggy feels no pressure

TODD SAELHOF -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:04 PM ET


 He's the captain. The sniper. The superstar.

 No wonder team success often begins and ends with Jarome Iginla.

 And it's no exception with the NHL playoffs at hand, even if the club's cornerstone player boasts just two post-season games on his resume.

 "I don't feel any more pressure than normal," said Iginla on the eve of tonight's Game 1 against the Canucks in Vancouver.

 "It's a challenge. It's a great challenge.

 "I'm going to go out and get more experience. It's hockey and hockey's fun. The more on the line, the better and more fun it is to play and compete -- and I really believe it."

 Believe him. Iginla has plenty of big-game experience under his belt. He paced the WHL's Kamloops Blazers to a pair of Memorial Cup titles in 1994 and 1995.

 He led Canada to a gold medal at the 1996 world junior hockey championships.

 He was part of the country's gold-medal victory at the 1997 world championships.

 And he was instrumental in Team Canada's gold-medal triumph at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

 "But I don't have a lot of NHL playoff experience, so we'll see how it goes as far as how the game is different," said the 26-year-old Iginla, now in his eighth full NHL season.

 "It's still hockey and it's still competing.

 "It might be up a few notches but I'm excited for that."

 Good to hear because he will draw attention, likely from Canucks defenceman Mattias Ohlund.

 "I'm not going to adjust too much -- just try to keep competing like I do against any other player," Iginla said. "He's a big, mobile d-man and he reads the play well. I've played against him a lot in the past. It'll be fun to play a possible seven-game series against him.

 "And there'll probably be a little more clutching and grabbing anyway -- that seems to be the case over the years from watching playoffs. I'll just have to battle through it and compete harder."

 It is expected from Iginla, the team's $7.5-million man.

 "He's going to have to show that he can play in this situation," said Flames GM/head coach Darryl Sutter.

 "Playoffs are about top players being top players and how they handle that. Naturally, they're going to get checking."

 But Iginla also hopes to get the goals.

 "I'm not going to go in with a different focus or try to do anything different than I was in any other games," Iginla said.

 "I'm just going to be trying to contribute, trying to score goals, trying to be good two-way and trying to be good in front of the net."


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