Trade rumours about the Calgary Flames have been coming fast and furious recently.



Every day the Flames remain outside the playoff picture between now and the April 3 NHL trade deadline, those rumours -- some making sense and some outright fantasy -- will become louder.

After all, with an aging team that includes a pending unrestricted free-agent in star captain Jarome Iginla and a goalie in Miikka Kiprusoff with one more year on his contract, the obvious play for the Flames is to sell like a stock broker watching the market crash.

"They've been talking about it for three years," forward Alex Tanguay said of the rumour-mongers across the hockey world insisting it's time to gut the Flames. "Yeah, it's on the back of your mind, but I want to make the playoffs here. I haven't made the playoffs for three years.

"I was fortunate enough in my first nine years of my career, I took it for granted. I never missed the playoffs, thought it was easy to get there. We feel we can get there."

If the Flames (8-8-4) want to quiet that talk over the next four weeks, they had better start winning some games, starting with Wednesday's clash with the San Jose Sharks (7:30 p.m., Sportsnet West).

Right now, they're a club once again looking to climb above the NHL version of .500.

After losing their first two games of the season in regulation, the Flames have been in this exact situation five times, and posted a 0-4-1 record in the games which ensued.

"It's been a big ladder for us to climb. It's like a great big China wall or something like that, that we can't get over," Tanguay said. "It's been tough for us to get over that hump. We see where we're at in the standings, we're a couple games away. This is the time of year where you've got to take that step, move forward, and get over that. 500 mark and start getting closer to the middle of the pack.

"Our playoffs have started already."