Jarome Iginla

Iginla, Flames dig another early-season hole

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Jarome Iginla is trying to stay positive. When asked about his slow start, he reminded reporters that his stats were also pretty bad at this time last year.

Iginila finished 2010-11 with 43 goals, third most in the NHL.

“I was looking at my game logs from last year, about Game 17,” he said, as per the Calgary Herald.

“If you look, to be honest, I think I was minus-6 with three goals. Yeah, I think so. I think I did have one or two more assists.

“So I actually feel better than I felt at this point last year. I’m just going to try and rip pucks, keep skating and try to be better for the team.”

Iginla has five goals and four assists after 17 games, but it’s his team-worst minus-10 that really stands out.

The Flames (7-9-1) host Chicago tonight having lost five of their last eight.

For all the attention the coaching situations in Columbus and Carolina have received, Brent Sutter needs to be on the list of potential casualties, too. This is Sutter’s third season behind the bench in Calgary and he’s yet to coach the Flames in a playoff game. He was also hired by his brother, Darryl, who’s since handed off the GM reins to Jay Feaster.

Such is Calgary’s position in the Western Conference standings (14th) that center Matt Stajan is bringing up the fact the St. Louis Cardinals were able to make the playoffs and win the World Series after erasing a 10.5-game deficit with 32 games to go in the regular season.

“It’s professional sports,” said Stajan. “Things happen.”

Yep, they do. But the Cardinals were a big story for a reason. That sort of comeback is extremely rare. You’ll excuse Flames fans if they don’t take comfort in a “hey, anything’s possible” attitude…in mid-November.

Watch the Blackhawks’ Patrick Sharp tribute video

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Over the years, the Chicago Blackhawks have been forced to let some important players leave to keep their core together, which ultimately meant parting ways with Patrick Sharp.

The talented winger now wears a Dallas Stars jersey, so Blackhawks fans must face the reality of watching Sharp ply his trade for a formidable Central Division opponent.

Even if that might feel awkward, Blackhawks fans gave Sharp (and Johnny Oduya) a warm reception in Chicago on Thursday.

CSNChicago.com provides video of that ovation, which you can see in the clip above.

The Stars currently lead the Blackhawks 4-2, thanks in large part to Patrick … Eaves.

Wild must overcome Alex Ovechkin’s 14th career hat trick

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Death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin winning the Maurice Richard Trophy.

OK, the third thing on that list isn’t technically inevitable. It just feels that way lately in the NHL.

It’s unclear if the Washington Capitals can hold on against the Minnesota Wild, but we know for certain that Ovechkin already has a hat trick, the 14th of his high-scoring career.

This propels Ovechkin to the goals lead as of this writing, as he already has 34. As impressive as Patrick Kane has been, No. 8 is heating up, and may just edge No. 88 if Ovechkin can remain healthy.

One has to feel a little sympathy for the struggling Wild. They played well but lost against the Dallas Stars earlier this week and now must deal with Ovechkin and the just-as-hot Capitals.

Bylsma believes league will look at Gudas’ hit on Catenacci

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Rugged Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas may get in trouble with the league once again.

At least, it will be that way if Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has his way regarding Gudas’ five-minute charging major hit on Daniel Catenacci.

“I think there’s no question it’s head hit,” Bylsma said, according to the Buffalo News’ John Vogl. ” … I know the league will look at that hit and deal with it.”

As far as the injury portion of possible suspension considerations go:

Marcus Foligno‘s analysis of Gudas was … well just check it out.

The Flyers ended up winning 5-1. Gudas was a busy man overall, racking up 17 penalty minutes.

Fight video: Patrice Bergeron vs. Blake Wheeler (seriously)

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Regular Selke winner Patrice Bergeron can do it all on the ice, it seems. Apparently that means he’ll even drop the gloves.

That was the unlikely scene during Thursday’s Boston Bruins – Winnipeg Jets skirmish, as Bergeron fought fellow finesse forward Blake Wheeler.

Perhaps unusual feisty behavior was just in the air, as Tyler Myers squared off with Matt Beleskey.

(Not as unlikely, but still.)