Although Jarome Iginla — or 'The Captain,' as he was referred to during Tuesday's media availability at the Saddledome — missed a third straight training camp session due to a groin injury, the Flames' perennial points leader and face-of-the-franchise once again skated before the main group and should soon join the fray.

"The Captain is doing very well. You know what? He's doing so well that he is begging me to let him on the ice," said Flames head coach Bob Hartley.

"Obviously, he is the best judge. The medical staff are very comfortable with Jarome being on the ice, so (Wednesday) morning, he's going to come in, we're going to test him in the gym, and if everything feels good, he is going to be on the ice."

It's tricky to put a timeline on groin injuries, but all indications are the Flames expect Iginla to be in the lineup for Sunday's season-opener against the San Jose Sharks at the Saddledome (4 p.m., Sportsnet West).

Good thing, too, because the Flames are suddenly short on top-six forward candidates.

Centre Roman Cervenka seems certain to miss the start of the season because of a blood issue, although it's a good sign that he skated with Iginla and Anton Babchuk (shoulder injury) before Tuesday's practice.

Meanwhile, right-winger Jiri Hudler's father passed away Monday, and it's unclear when he'll return from the Czech Republic.

Although Hartley has cautioned not to jot down the training camp trios in permanent ink, it's worth noting versatile forward Lee Stempniak skated with centre Alex Tanguay and left-winger Curtis Glencross during Tuesday's practice, patrolling the spot on the right side that is undoubtedly reserved for Iginla.

Mikael Backlund was between Michael Cammalleri and rookie Sven Baertschi on what would be the second unit.