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Calgary Flames

Thoughts on Iginla and the Flames Top Line



Put out an all-points bulletin for Jarome Iginla. Through two games, Iginla has yet to score a single goal. So Flames fans want desperately to know what’s happened to their beloved Iggy.

“It’s two games,” said centre Eric Nystrom, looking over at the massive media scrum surrounding the captain. “People are seriously worried about this guy?” Well, yes they are.

Via Flames Insider.

I feel I should qualify my criticism of the Iginla and the first line because I've heard a lot of the above retort from players, coaches and the media. It's two games, Iginla's great, no need to worry.

It's a valid claim on it's face. Two games is a miniscule sample. A two game trend isn't really a trend at all.

Here's where I'm coming from, however:

1.) The points don't matter

I'm necessarily not worried that Iginla and Jokinen aren't scoring. I'm worried that they aren't driving possession or generating scoring chances in the offensive zone when they're on the ice. Through two games, each guy's corsi is bottom of the barrel on the team. If the pair was getting 7 shots a game and spending half the night at the good end of the rink, I'd be singing their praises and cursing their bad luck. That isn't happening. They've pretty much been the worst forwards on the ice at ES thus far.

2.) This isn't a merely a two game trend

During the summer, I theorized that a Jokinen-Iginla pairing wouldn't work. I based my theory on what I know about Jokinen as a player and what I saw from that combination at the end of the previous season. To see my fears so completely realized is disconcerting to say the least. On top of all that, we have Iginla coming off of one of his most ineffective seasons to date in terms of contributions relative to the rest of the team and his salary.

In short, if Jokinen+Jarome had ripped it up last year and/or if Iginla was still the guy who could beat up tough opponents single-handedly, I would probably be equally as dismissive as Nystrom above. Neither is true. The Flames two biggest guns have all season to turn things around, obviously, but one wonders how long this experiment will have to fail before another one is tried. Calgary is 2-0 right now, but the results are deceptive – things will get a lot uglier very quickly if Calgary's primary scoring unit continues to be it's worst.

by Kent Wilson