After enduring what will likely be a season-crippling third straight loss, Flames captain Jarome Iginla was in the mood to take responsibility for the Flames’ struggles.
“I know that I wasn’t good enough, especially down the stretch,” said Iginla. He later added, “It’s tough on everybody, but we put ourselves here and there’s absolutely nobody to blame but ourselves.”
Although it’s true that Iginla went cold during the Flames’ stretch run, it would be wrong to put all or even most of the blame on his shoulders. Iginla has scored 107 goals for Calgary over the last three years, including a team-high 32 in 80 contests this season. Yes, he’s the team’s highest paid player and yes it is right to expect him to perform at a star level. However, he has largely lived up to his end of the bargain and it’s the Flames management that has been unable to either build a contender around him in recent years or trade him in an effort to jumpstart a rebuilding process.
This will be a key summer for Calgary and not just because they are expected to fall short of the playoffs for the third straight campaign. The Flames top two players in Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff are in their mid-30s. In addition to that, Iginla’s contract is set to expire at the end of the 2012-13 campaign. Every season that they choose to stay the course in the hope of making the playoffs rather than trading either of those two stars, their potential return diminishes.