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Captain's reaction

Iginla pleasantly surprised to hear of the recent signings

Friday, 07.2.2010 / 11:59 AM MT / News
By Kristi Hennessy
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Captain\'s reaction

If you think Flames fans are the only ones surprised by the Olli Jokinen deal, think again? Even Flames captain Jarome Iginla had his eyebrows raised.

"I was surprised at first when I heard it," said Iginla of Jokinen's two-year deal with the Flames that was announced late Thursday.

"I was surprised because he was pretty upset when he left. It is a big complement to the city and to this organization that he wants to come back. It would have been easier for him to go somewhere else and not have to answer any questions but he believes in what we can do as a team and believes that we can win and have success. I think it’s a bold move for sure."

Iginla had just finished off a round of golf on his Canada Day birthday when he heard the news. He knew that the signing of Jokinen and Alex Tanguay, who agreed to a one-year contract Thursday, would shock the city of Calgary and there would definitely be some debates out there.

"I'm not surprised at the reaction out there," said Iginla. "We ended the season on a bad note and until we get back on the ice and improve and have success, people are going to debate it and be upset because the last memory we gave them on the season is not a positive one.”

Now imagine Jokinen's reaction when he took the call from general manager Darryl Sutter on free agent day.

“I would have never guessed that Calgary would be the first team that would call,” said Jokinen. “Usually when you get traded they never call you again, they want to get rid of you. I was flattered when he called and I started thinking maybe I did something right.”

Iginla mentioned that he had spoken with Sutter earlier that day regarding Jokinen and that he believed it could work this time around. The two of them both love to shoot and what they needed was a passer with them for it to be the perfect combination.

Sutter hinted at a news conference on Friday that the top line would be Tanguay, Jokinen and Iginla.

"When we played together, we were both shooters," Iginla said of playing with Jokinen for a season between trade deadlines. "You need that mix of shooting and passing and I think he felt the pressure that he had to be the passer so I think we were a little out of sync and it didn't work as good as it could have. Without the pressure, I think Olli can play his game and I can play my game. I'm very excited about it."

With that said, do we turn our heads to Tanguay and hope that’s the missing piece of the puzzle?

"He will work well on our team because we have a lot of shooters but we don't have as many passers," explained Iginla. "We have some but you need them on every line. You need that combination. I think adding his skill level will be huge for our team. I was definitely thrilled to find out that we were going to get to play together again.”

The Flames finished at the bottom of the barrel in goals scored -- 29th on the league -- and will look to these new additions to help turn things around. Is it enough?

"I do believe that we will be able to score more goals next year," said Iginla. "At the price that they were able to come at and wanted to come at allows Darryl to keep other guys so we didn't have to lose a lot of scoring. We added creativity. We added guys have scored a lot of goals in their careers. At the price, the payout could be huge for our club.”

Jokinen signed a two-year-deal worth $3 million a season while Tanguay signed a one-year deal worth $1.7 million.

Sutter addressed the media Friday morning to answer the simple question that everyone had. Why did you take these guys again?

“The bottom line is, (they're) players that we know can produce more and they know can produce more and believe it.”  said Sutter.