Good for Jarome Iginla. Good for him that he gets a shot at a Stanley Cup late in his career with Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Good for him that he decided to follow the path skated by Ray Bourque and not Mats Sundin, who chose to stay with the Maple Leafs only to vacate the team the next year after 13 long seasons in Toronto.
Good for Iginla that he waived his no-movement clause and allowed the Calgary Flames to use him as a chip to help rebuild. They will receive U.S. college forwards Kenneth Agostino (Yale), Ben Hanowski (St. Cloud State) and a 2013 first-round draft pick.
Iginla was a healthy scratch for the Flames' 4-3 win at home against the Colorado Avalanche in front of a spectator named Wayne Gretzky on Wednesday. The crowd chanted "Ig-gy! Ig-gy! Ig-gy!" several times throughout the game.
Maybe Iginla, who could become an unrestricted free agent this summer, signs again with Calgary. The Flames worked closely with him on this trade as they first approached him in early March, and general manager Jay Feaster revealed that he received offers from three teams -- the Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings were believed to be the others -- and indicated this was Iginla's choice. He chose the Penguins.
In the meantime, we have another compelling storyline to follow next month. Does the gentleman nicknamed Iggy finally get to celebrate a Stanley Cup championship?
He has everything else.
It all started for the native of Edmonton 19 years ago, when he won back-to-back Memorial Cup titles with the Kamloops Blazers in 1994 and 1995.
If you didn't know him then you certainly discovered him on Dec. 20, 1995, when a few days before the world junior tournament was to begin, the Dallas Stars traded him straight up to the Flames in exchange for star Joe Nieuwendyk.
With the heat of the spotlight on him, Iginla not only performed brilliantly for Canada over the next two weeks, he led the tournament in scoring with five goals and 12 points in six games. He was the tournament's top forward and was named to the tournament all-star team.
Five months later, his junior career ended and he joined the Flames in the playoffs the next day. He made an immediate impression with a goal in that debut against the Chicago Blackhawks.
In 1997, Iginla won a world championship with Canada, then sandwiched Olympic gold medals in 2002 and 2010 around a World Cup of Hockey crown in 2004. In the latter Winter Games, it was Iginla who set up Crosby for the golden goal.
The Penguins have not acquired the 50-goal Iginla. But the 35-year-old still has his trademark determination and a goal-scoring touch that will look good beside Crosby. He has scored only nine goals this year and certainly will see his streak of 11 consecutive 30-or-more-goal seasons end. But he's still durable. He's still determined. He's hungry, having not performed in a playoff game since April 2009, and has gone without a playoff series win since the Flames beat the San Jose Sharks in the West final in 2004.
Iginla is a gamer. You saw that in Vancouver in overtime with a nation ready to celebrate. He has 28 goals in 54 Stanley Cup playoff games, and for the most part has finished the regular season in a strong manner.
Pittsburgh has 14 games remaining. Here's how Iginla has performed in the final 14 games of his previous 11 seasons when he scored 30 or more goals in each year.
Iginla will say goodbye at 10:30 a.m. MT on Thursday and certainly the Flames will retire his No. 12 down the road.
But for now, the Flames fire sale begins. Maybe defenceman Jay Bouwmeester will be next.
The Penguins? Well, the team that is riding a 13-game win streak just added another key component like they did earlier this week with forward Brenden Morrow and defenceman Douglas Murray.
The Stanley Cup champs from four years ago are all in and have given new life to Iginla. Good for him.
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