That collective gasp you heard in Southern Alberta earlier this week was in response to the news that Calgary Flames star Jarome Iginla had injured his groin and would be kept out of practice for a bit. The precautionary measure was just to ensure that Iginla would be ready to go when it actually mattered rather than spending time trying to get up to speed during practice. As general manager Jay Feaster joked, “We said that we won’t get any points this week, but next Sunday we’d like to pick up two.” Sage words, if a little obvious.
Iginla was cleared to practice yesterday and early reports suggest that he did fine and should be ready to go on Sunday when the Flames open the 2013 NHL season at home against the San Jose Sharks. But news like this has to make you a bit edgy if you are a Flames fan. At age 35, injuries like this one–which usually end up being problematic enough for any player during a normal NHL season–have the potential to be harbingers of doom to Iginla and everyone associated with the Flames franchise, considering the type of season Iginla and the Flames are about to face.
Is he going to be behind the eight ball before the season even starts? How much will this affect his productivity? And will his need to be the captain, provide the spark Calgary’s offense desperately needs and give the fans something to cheer about after this nasty lockout, cause him to try and do too much? And don’t forget that he is in the final year of his $7M-per-year contract, so he’ll be looking to impress as he comes into his final contract negotiations.
For now the Flames can apparently be happy that Iginla is okay, but this might not be over yet.