With Jarome Iginla out at least a week (lets face it, probably 3-4 weeks), the Flames will need multiple players to step out of the shadows of mediocrity and come to play every night. Byron Ritchie proved the other night that he is more than capable of filling and surpassing the role the disappointing Chuck Kobasew plays. Alex Tanguay had a 3 point night playing with Lombardi and Kobasew, but if Tanguay believes that takes him off the hook, he is dreadfully mistaken. Since Tanguay's dissapointing start to the season he has been criticized in the media for being nothing more than a supplemental scorer, first behind Sakic, and now Iginla. If there was any chance for Tanguay to prove he can handle the load, this is it.
Kristian Huselius is another man with a question mark after his name. As I've stated numerous times on this blog, I love how he plays, he's a very important member of this team; but can Juice make the most of tough first line minutes, or is his success due almost fully to the presence of Jarome Iginla taking heat from other team's top defenceman?
Will the hurt Daymond Langkow become invisible once his best friend in the whole world isn't around, or will he be able to prove that his impressive stats and sublime gameplay aren't just a biproduct of having Jarome Iginla as his wingman.
The hapless pair of Jeff Friesen and Tony Amonte will not be expected to step up, only because they've been so bad everybody has forgotten they used to be somewhat useful hockey players. Jeff Friesen called his last season in Anaheim 'an embarressement,' so one can only imagine the personal shame he's feeling now. Perhaps that shame is overcome by his hefty $1.6 million paycheque though, as Friesen continues to show very little heart or visible desire to be a help to this team.
Tony Amonte on the other hand, is nothing but hardwork, unfortunately it appears he no longer has the skillset neccessary to score goals. On last Thursday's game versus the Panthers, Amonte was given multiple chances to make a positive impact on the game. He received set up after set up but couldn't convert, although he did manage an assist on a pretty set up play by Warrener.
In my opinion, this is the list of people needed to step up if the Flames are to have success without their captain. Whether the Flames crash and burn like the Oilers without Ryan Smyth, or succeed like the Maple Leafs without Mats Sundin, is a question that will be answered very quickly.