Jarome Iginla is optimistic about Flames' future

jaromeiginla3.jpgA lot has been made of the moves the Calgary Flames made to improve themselves and a lot of what’s been said is not exactly positive. While Flames GM Darryl Sutter is more than pleased with re-obtaining forwards Alex Tanguay and Olli Jokinen, people were curious as to what Flames captain and soon-to-be linemate Jarome Iginla thinks of everything.

As it turns out, Iginla is all about the Calgary Flames failed linemate reunion tour as the Globe and Mail’s Donna Spencer finds out from the captain.

“I think we definitely are a better team today than when we finished the season,” Iginla said Wednesday during a break at his annual hockey school in Calgary.

“Both of these guys, their top end is not 50 or 60 points. If they are rolling and have years they’re capable of, the sky is the limit. Could be 90, could be 100.”

“We need a bounce-back year,” Iginla said. “Personally, I need to be better. We’re getting two guys that are very hungry. A lot of us have that in common.”

There’s no doubt that both Jokinen and Tanguay have a lot  to prove as both players had awful seasons last year and for Iginla, missing the playoffs is a huge failure on its own, even if he was one of a few consistent sources of production on the team. You can’t fault Jarome Iginla for being as positive as possible about the upcoming season, but you have to wonder if there’s a nagging doubt in his mind as to what the Flames are doing to help provide him with the support he’s been wanting for years and only giving him guys that didn’t work out before to try and do it.

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier
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Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, CSNPhilly.com notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench, and that’s only counting what the Flyers are paying Gagner.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The CSNPhilly.com quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.

Video: NHL drops hammer, suspends Torres for 41 games


One of the NHL’s most notorious hitters has been tagged by the league.

On Monday, the Department of Player Safety announced that San Jose forward Raffi Torres has been suspended 41 games — half of the regular season — for an illegal check to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The length of Torres’ suspension is a combination of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ history of delivering hits to the heads of opposing players, including Jordan Eberle, Jarret Stoll, Nate Prosser and Marian Hossa.

“Torres has repeatedly violated league playing rules,” the Department of Player Safety explained. “And has been sanctioned multiple times for similar infractions.”

The league also noted that Torres has been warned, fined, or suspended on nine occasions over the course of his career, “the majority of which have involved a hit to an opponent’s head.”

“Same player every year,” Ducks forward Ryan Kesler said following the hit on Silfverberg. “I played with the guy [in Vancouver]. He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”

As for what lies ahead, things could get interesting upon potential appeal:

Torres successfully appealed a suspension under the previous CBA, getting his punishment for the Hossa hit reduced from 25 to 21 games.

Under terms of the new CBA, Torres isn’t categorized as a repeat offender because his last suspension came in May of 2013 — more than two years ago.

Of course, part of the reason Torres hasn’t run afoul of the league in two years is because he’s barely played.

Knee injuries limited Torres to just 12 games in ’13-14, and he sat out last season entirely.