Earlier this week I overheard someone say, “Do you think Iggy has finally woken up?” This question came on Wednesday after Jarome’s best game of the season when he scored a goal, added an assist and more importantly, lead his team to victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
It was a thought that had also come to my mind. Despite the fact that the Flames have continued to win games and have kept their record within the top 5 teams in the NHL, their captain has not played up to our expectations. Last night’s game was a good indication that Jarome Iginla hasn’t actually “woken up,” he just hit the snooze button.
The Flames rolled over the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 last night to improve their Battle of Alberta record to 3-0 this season. Like many games so far, the Flames weren’t lead on the scoresheet by their captain. Instead it was Rene Bourque and Nigel Dawes that lead the team in scoring with 3 points and 2 goals respectively.
Bourque, the Flames leading scorer, notched his 5th goal of the season on a shorthanded breakout with Daymond Langkow in the first period. He also set up Dawes for 2 goals, including the back-breaker at 12:27 of the 3rd period, at a time when the Oilers looked like they were considering a comeback. Eric Nystrom and David Moss also scored for the Flames.
Last night’s win against the Oilers was the 3rd in a row for the Flames and gives them a 7-2-1 record after 10 games. They are 5-0 against their NW division rivals, and even without their captain’s usual contributions, the Flames have managed to achieve the 3rd best record in the league. This has been possible because the Flames have had balanced scoring and everyone has been contributing. They have 6 players with 6 points, 5 players with 5 points and only 2 players on the roster that have not registered a point so far. But Jason Jaffray has only played in 1 game, and Aaron Johnson has only played in 2 games.
Over the past 2 weeks I’ve heard lots of theories about why Iginla has been slow to start this season: He’s getting older; He has too much attention on him from opposing teams; He’s slowing down; He can’t find chemistry with Olli Jokinen; He is being held back by Brent Sutter’s new team structure. Whatever the case, Iginla is not scoring like he has in past seasons and is not dominating games like Flames fans want him to. But Jarome still has 8 points (3rd most on the Flames) and the team is winning consistently. So should we really worry about it?