Sep 17, 2011, 8:48 PM EDT
After the regular season the Calgary Flames had last year in rallying late to fall three points shy of the playoffs, you could call today’s start to training cam an inauspicious one for the franchise.
During today’s action at the team’s first skate of the new year, captain Jarome Iginla got his season off on the wrong foot. Iginla left the team’s skate after dealing with back spasms in the first half hour, leaving some to get a bit nervous about how the 34 year-old right wing might be able to handle a full season. After a huge regular season last year that saw Iginla lead the team with 43 goals and 86 points, seeing Iginla duck off the ice after just a half hour would be enough to give any Flames fan fits.
Iginla, however, is taking a much more reasonable approach to how his back is making him feel and how he’ll manage it moving forward.
“Unfortunately, after I’d started a little bit, I had a little bit of a spasm there,” Iginla said later. “It’s nothing I haven’t had before. I’ve had them during the season at different times.
“I thought it was better to be safe than keep aggravating it.”
At 34, Iginla is more cautious about aches and pains than he once was.
“When you’re younger, you’d push through it a little bit and I’d push and you learn it probably causes more problems and lasts longer,” he said.
Iginla is very positive about things, but ditching out on the team’s first skate of the year certainly gives a good reason for Flames fans to be nervous right off the bat. After all, Iginla is just the Flames best player, top goal scorer, and perennial MVP-caliber player. Iginla has played every game of the year for the last four seasons so seeing this slight crack in his armor is alarming. Of course, Iginla says he’s dealt with it before so perhaps he’s just a tougher guy than the rest of us mortals.
Thankfully for Calgary, Iginla is smart enough to know when to not push things more and when it’s the first practice of the season, there’s zero need to push yourself to the hilt at that moment in training camp. It doesn’t appear to be overly serious, but it’s an injury situation worth keeping an eye on through camp and the regular season.
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