It looks as though there's some trouble brewing in Calgary between the head coach of the Flames and the team's superstar, leading to questions about whether Jarome Iginla will be wearing a different jersey in the near future.
The possible strife between Brent Sutter and Iginla was the hot topic on Saturday night's Hotstove segment on Hockey Night in Canada.
After the Colorado Avalanche posted a come-from-behind 6-5 decision in Calgary, Sutter had some choice words for his top players in the post-game news conference.
"The only way you can be a consistently good team is that it doesn't matter who you are, this is what you have to do; it doesn't matter what you've done here in the past, what you've done somewhere else in the past. This is our team and this is the way we have to play," Sutter said. "Because again, we've seen what happened these last two games: We get away from it and it start with our top players and our top players have to buy in with what we're doing."
According to Hotstove panelist Eric Francis of Sun Media, the words were aimed straight at Iginla, despite attempts by Sutter and the coach himself to back-off the comments.
"It seems pretty obvious, everyone in the city is connecting the dots, it's all about Jarome Iginla," Francis said. "Iginla is not the power forward he used to be and that's what I think is driving Brent Sutter crazy.
"He's a perimeter player now and he's all about setting up for the big shot and he can do so because Alex Tanguay is setting him up a lot. However, a lot of shots on goal that aren't dangerous … he's not the power forward that he was." Francis said. "The whole system that Brent Sutter brought in to Calgary last year was to be a defensive-minded team, so you have to pay the price defensively first and then start working on the offence. They needed to score more goals this year, they knew that.
"But Jarome Iginla is starting to cheat defensively and that's what's bothering Brent Sutter."
Mike Milbury said the coach's statement was tame as far as criticism goes and no one should really be upset by it but it
"If I'm Brent Sutter, I'm upset that the face of the franchise is playing ugly right now. [Iginla]'s around the outside, he's going through the motions physically, he's not getting involved [and] a lot of players go through this at this stage of their career — what is this, about 14 years for him? They get tired.
"He's had Mike Keenan, he's had Brent Sutter. Those aren't happy-go-lucky coaches to play for and it gets to be a job instead of a passion."
Pierre LeBrun said many think a change of scenery would do Iginla a world of good, but it may not happen considering the short leash on GM Darryl Sutter and the fact that Iginla is so deeply rooted in the community.
"One team that I believe has him at the top of their list should he ever become available, —which I don't think will be the case — is the L. A. Kings, which would make sense for L.A. They went after Ryan Smyth, they went after Willie Mitchell — they like adding these sort of character guys to this young core."
Milbury said the Flames would be "crazy not to trade him if [Iginla is] going to play like this, they better do something. He's not good as a community figurehead when he's playing like a third-line winger."