A two-time 50 goal scorer who is not afraid to grind in the corners. He throws his weight around the rink and never shies away from any fisticuffs. He will score when needed to, give up his body when required to, and sit in the box when asked to. He plays the game with a rugged style tailored for ‘old time hockey’ and comes with the Don Cherry seal of approval. If his resume reads like the consummate member of the Big Bad Bruins of the 1970s, it is because he would have fit right in. Since 1997, he has been wreaking havoc in NHL arenas across North America, and now, 17 seasons later, the Boston Bruins are proving that Jarome Iginla still has plenty of bite.
Fresh off of scoring his 30th goal on the season, the 12th such time he has reached the mark in his career, the 36-year-old forward is silencing the critics who claimed he was finished. Not only is Iginla the Bruins’ leading goal scorer, but he is only two points behind linemate David Krejci for the team lead in total scoring. Boston, having already stamped their ticket to the playoffs by clinching their division, is now looking to snatch the top seed in the Eastern Conference, and Jarome Iginla’s stellar season has a lot to do with it.
After burning the Bruins at last year’s trade deadline by choosing the Penguins offer instead, the former long-time Calgary Flame is making amends for any hurt feelings. Though, it is likely that Boston has very few after sweeping Iginla and the Penguins in last year’s playoffs, and falling just short of their second Stanley Cup in three years. Iginla on the other hand was left with a long off-season to contemplate his choices and to imagine what might have been had he joined the B’s. But now, with the six time all-star in the fold, this new age, slightly tamer version of the Big Bad Bruins are proving that Jarome Iginla still has plenty of bite, as they are poised to make another deep Stanley Cup run.
Some Boston fans may have been apprehensive toward the signing of Iginla at the start, but his play combined with his adoption of the Boston way has won them over, the very same way it did for Calgary fans during the first 16 seasons of his illustrious career. While playing for the Flames he accomplished just about anything a professional hockey player can hope to achieve in an NHL career, except for hoisting the Stanley Cup. He came very close in 2004 but he and the Flames were bested by the Tampa Bay Lightning in a very tight seven game series. Iginla has not made it back to the Finals since.
Though, Iginla probably wishes he could have brought a championship to Calgary, it was not to be. Maybe he can settle for the next best thing by hoisting Lord Stanley in Bruins black and gold, and then take it for a little visit to see the Flames fans that still adore their former captain.
There is plenty of hockey to be played and only one team can be crowned king of the NHL. But in the meantime, the Bruins will keep on proving that Iginla still has plenty of bite left, while hoping that they are worthy of once again drinking from the Cup.
Commentary by Kalen Skalesky