February 06 2009 12:59PM
Jarome Iginla has played 4 games against the Hawks this year, managed zero goals, three assists...and a ghastly -9 rating. That's arguably the worst stats line for the captain versus any team in the league.
Those terrible looking figures got me thinking back to something I noticed earlier in the year: Iginla seemed to be beating up on the lesser clubs (Nashville, Phoenix) but disappearing against the better opposition (Detroit, etc.). Luckily, CBS has those situational stats, which I've parsed into "strong" and "weak" to give us an indication if the perceived split in his performance is real or imagined:
As you can see, the difference is real and startling: In 21 games against the relatively stronger teams, Iginla has just one goal, 18 points and is a putrid -17. His PPG pace is 0.86, he averages 2.95 shots on net and his SH% is .02!
In stark contrast, Jarome has made hay against the weaker-thans all year: 19 goals, 40 points, +16 and a PPG rate of 1.33, 3.93 shots/game and a SH% of 0.16.
One can quibble with my assignment of certain teams to certain conditions here, but I think I've caught the meat of the issue. Naturally, we can realistically expect a drop of just about anyone's stats in this kind of split, but...there's no way it should be such a steep drop-off, especially for a player of Iginla's caliber and pay-scale. I mean, ostensibly the reason to retain and pay a player like Jarome a huge chunk of dough is so that the team can compete with the other good teams in the league. Unfortunately, the captain has failed utterly in that assignment this year - so much so that I'm struggling to get my head around it still.
Causes? Fears? Does this make anyone wish for a better center at the deadline? I dont know what's going on here, but, whatever the cause, Iginla has to be better going forward. Calgary can't hope to do much in the play-offs if #12 continues to be little more than a detriment against the better teams in the league; there isn't any weak sisters in the post season, after all.