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In praise of Jarome Iginla

Mar 18, 2014, 3:29 PM EDT

JaromeIginla Getty Images

When Nathan Horton bolted Boston this summer, the Bruins’ top line had a sizable hole next to David Krejci and Milan Lucic — one the club hoped to fill by signing Jarome Iginla.

At the time, the deal made a lot of sense.

Today, it looks like a masterstroke.

Iginla’s meshed into Boston’s lineup as well as any free agent from last summer’s class (Jaromir Jagr‘s been great in New Jersey, too). While everyone figured Iginla would be a good fit, not many expected he’d be this good; he leads the Bruins with 25 goals and reports of him “slowing down” in Pittsburgh (which were always exaggerated, given he had 23 points in 28 games as a Penguin) now appear to be a tad premature — Iginla’s actually gotten better as the season’s progressed, scoring 10 goals and 19 points over his last 15 games.

“It’s been great having him here,” Lucic said, per ESPN Boston. “You can see he’s obviously come into his own here and starting to feel good about himself. We all know what he can do from what he’s done in the past and he’s definitely a confident guy that’s always pushing for more.

“You see the little things in him that has made him so successful throughout his career and it’s starting to show more and more as this season goes on.”

In some ways, Iginla is a better fit for the Bruins than Horton was — specifically in the health department. Horton struggled with concussion and shoulder issues during his time in Boston whereas Iginla, known for his durability, has appeared in all 68 games for the B’s this year while averaging over 18 minutes per night.

(Not that Ironman Iggy is any surprise. Same guy, after all, that played in over 450 consecutive games for Calgary from 2007-12.)

The Bruins also seem to have embraced Iginla’s leadership qualities. This isn’t to diminish Horton’s presence, but he opted to leave Boston for Columbus in the search of a quieter, less-intense market. Iginla played in hockey-mad Calgary for years then joined Pittsburgh in a ballyhooed move, and has extensive experience serving as a captain.

It’s all stuff the B’s appreciate.

“He’s exactly what he was advertised as,” head coach Claude Julien said. “He’s a good team player, a hard worker, and a competitive guy. I can see why he had a letter in Calgary because he has that leadership quality in him.”

Looking ahead, it’s going to be very interesting to watch Iginla come playoff time. The B’s relied on veteran acquisitions in each of their last two Stanley Cup runs with Mark Recchi and Jaromir Jagr, but that pair had already won championships.

Iginla’s come close once before, losing Game 7 of the ’04 Final to Tampa Bay, but has never hoisted Lord Stanley’s mug. He’ll be looking to change that this spring.

  1. wishingtonredslur - Mar 18, 2014 at 3:36 PM

    He always starts slow, painfully, painfully slow and then November or December hits and then next thing you know the season is over and the guy has 30 goals and 50 points.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Mar 18, 2014 at 3:45 PM

      Or, more than a few times, 40 or 50 goals and 80 or 90 points!

  2. nothanksimdriving123 - Mar 18, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    One might also note that this future Hall of Famer is also among the few NHL players who can actually sound intelligent in an interview, uttering far more than the usual cliches.

  3. hockey412 - Mar 18, 2014 at 3:46 PM

    I don’t think he slowed down in Pittsburgh – it was a matter of Shero giving Bylsma the gift of a right shoe and Bylsma continually trying to jam it on the left foot. It was a waste of a great trade.

    • pepper2011 - Mar 18, 2014 at 4:23 PM

      Saw this coming. He doesn’t need to be the best player on the ice like he did for so many years in Calgary.

      love your shoe analogy. He is playing with the best players he has ever played with – not counting his time in Pitt or Olympics.

      Lucic and Krecji create so much space for him. whatever he has ‘lost’ being in his mid 30’s is returned 10 fold by playing with his those two. If he has lost a step; it’s not really noticeable. To tell you the truth he has much better hands and is a much better skater than I was expecting.

      He has the highest +/- of his career and amazingly of his 25 goals only 4 are PP.

      • pepper2011 - Mar 18, 2014 at 4:24 PM

        Krejci*

    • pepper2011 - Mar 18, 2014 at 4:32 PM

      and.. Yeah I never got the ‘slowed thing’. He had 23pts in 28 games with the Pens (playoffs included) and he was adjusting to new system, wing and teammates.

  4. dropthepuckeh - Mar 18, 2014 at 3:47 PM

    Great fit in Boston, the guy brings it every night. Hopefully the embarrassment he suffered with the Penguins last year will push him that much harder come playoff time. It would be hard for him to replicate Horton’s production in the playoffs but if he keeps on his regular season pace the Bruins should have a good shot in the East.

  5. jcmeyer10 - Mar 18, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    Excited to see this guy work when it really counts. Hear hear to Iginla.

    On a more general Bruins note. Chiarelli plays it cool during the trade deadline, and look how this team repays him. Around the trade deadline I was cool on the idea this team could win it (thinking there needed to be a few breaks), now I think they have shown they can do it.

  6. nunan - Mar 18, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    Only thing is Horton was/is a beast in the post season. He is WAY less consistent during the regular season, so having Iggy right now is a definite upgrade. It is whether he can bring it in the playoffs… My gut says he’ll just be consistent…he won’t be as clutch or as prolific as Horton was in the spring but that’s fine.

  7. slaugin - Mar 18, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    Exactly. Norton used cruise control in Reg Season and blew come SC Playoffs. He has made some of the greatest goals in Boston History. But the Eye test so far is Iginla is a better fit. Let’s hope he does it when it counts

    • pepper2011 - Mar 18, 2014 at 4:29 PM

      ^ this is a mess on many levels.

      (not judging, been there)

      • therooneyskilledwebster - Mar 18, 2014 at 5:40 PM

        St. Patrick’s Days ?

    • pastabelly - Mar 18, 2014 at 5:13 PM

      I’m assuming you mean Horton and I hate seeing Boston fans dump on players who leave.

  8. atwatercrushesokoye - Mar 18, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    I still miss Jarome, it was best for everyone that he left, and I hope that he gets a cup but I’ll always think of him as a Calgary Flame! The scene in December at the Dome was awesome, I can’t wait till the night when they retire number 12 forever!

  9. pastabelly - Mar 18, 2014 at 5:09 PM

    Recchi and Jagr’s roles on the Bruins were nothing alike. Jagr was a quick rental and a goal scorer for hire. That’s not why they signed Iginla. Iginla’s game was always a better fit in Boston, but you can’t blame him for going to Pittsburgh. At the time of the deal, the Bruins were on a big losing streak and the Penguins were on fire and a Cup favorite (along with Chicago). If the Bruins win it all this year, it wouldn’t bother me if Iginla decided to head back to Calgary. As much as I love the Bruins and believe that Iginla is best off alongside Krejci and Lucic, he’s an institution in Calgary.

  10. slaugin - Mar 18, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    I meant Blew up, not blew…that was misleading on Horton sorry. Loved him in the playoffs

  11. flyersfan85 - Mar 18, 2014 at 6:09 PM

    Keep keep on Big J.. and thank you for not wasting your talent in Pittsburgh. Im sure that is something that both Bruins and Flyers can agree on. IF we don’t get it we hope you do.

    • flyersfan85 - Mar 18, 2014 at 6:13 PM

      Last thing..on the idea of slowing down in Pittsburgh… it was more they couldn’t adjust to Jerome as we all have seen that Sidney has a hard time getting his pampers adjusted properly. References provided if needed.. but I think Boston fans got it.. Pens fans.. not so quick..

  12. phillyphanatic77 - Mar 18, 2014 at 6:20 PM

    I’m jealous of the roster that’s been assembled in Boston over the past few seasons… just so much depth through the entire organization, at all positions. And adding a future Hall of Famer and former Captain to an already veteran laden club makes them that much more dangerous. This team is built for the playoffs. The Western conference has several top notch clubs (Blues, Chicago, Anaheim, etc) but I honestly believe the Bruins could beat any one of them. I obviously want the Flyers to roll through the playoffs (unlikely I know) but I wouldn’t mind seeing a rematch of the Bruins and a healthy Pens club in the ECFs.

  13. muckleflugga - Mar 18, 2014 at 8:43 PM

    pastabelly

    not to rain on your fantasies but jarome is not an institution in calgary … he never did what all great ones do and that is drag his team to a cup win through force of skill and personality and leadership

    crozier, delvecchio, howe, lindsay, sawchuk and yzerman among others are institutions in detroit … still talked about and revered in the present

    were iginla an institution in calgary, why is he never mentioned in the present without attendant four letter invective …?

    rumours from two insiders claim there was a distinct split between haves and have nots on flames during iginla’s tenure as captain … the established players and the young players … much of it pointed at iginla’s treatment of rookies and newcomers threatening his status in particular

    look at the exodus of talent from calgary over the term of iginla’s stay … phenomena prevalent on most hockey teams but more so on also-rans … like flames and penguins

    i live here and held season tickets through much of his career … jarome blew hot and cold … hot when it hardly mattered and cold when it did … just like sidney and his penguins

    throw-out 2004 when hockey was rugby on skates and flames record is there for all to see … throw-out 2009 when the nhl fast-tracked a penguins’ recovery in effort to placate mario and build a new arena and penguins record is there for all to see

    twenty first century schizoid teams depending too much on the mood of single players

    the love-in was all good when jarome iginla came back to the dome but ovations for guy lafleur were louder and longer every time …

    guy lafleur is an institution

    in spite of the fact he’s a capital dude off the ice and hard as nails on, i’m not an iginla fan and never will be …

    he cost me too much money

    • lordstanley65 - Mar 18, 2014 at 9:48 PM

      Man, I want to refute that statement so badly, but the fact that you live there and have spent years watching him daunts me. Plus, your last sentence still has me chuckling and speaks volumes. Fortunately, we’re not seeing that Jarome here.As happy as you are to see him go, we’re ecstatic to have him. Good all around,then!

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Mar 18, 2014 at 11:24 PM

        You can refute it freely, I live in Calgary, have my entire life, Jarome is beloved here, the way the fans reacted to him in December tells you all you need to know about how we feel about him.

        I would suspect the other poster’s dislike of Iginla has clouded his judgement on how the rest of the Flames fans feel, but the truth is Iginla was a MASSIVE part of keeping the Flames in Calgary, before 2001-02 (when Iginla broke out) the Flames were struggling to get 14,000 fans in the building each night and had a save the Flames campaign, ever since the 03-04 season (and the cup run) the Flames have had 18,289 tickets sold for every single game…without Iginla and the 03-04 team there’s a real possibility that the Flames aren’t here.

        At the same time many Flames fans recognized a couple of years before the organization did that it was best for everyone involved if Iginla were to be traded.

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