Milestone Man

As Calgary’s Jarome Iginla hit the millenium mark in games played over the weekend, the Iginla talk on the FAN 960 has ramped up. So I thought it would be pertinent to look back and bring it all full circle when talking about the man to play all those games with one team.

I don’t remember the trade and in fact I don’t have a whole lot of recollection of Joe Nieuwendyk being traded to Dallas. But I can remember when Iginla made his NHL debut. I wasn’t a HUGE hockey junkie or anything like that, in fact really all I knew about hockey was what I got from my buddy’s NHL 94 on Sega Genesis.

I’d go over to his house 3 or 4 times a week after school, bust out some NHL 94, and usually get my ass whupped 6-0 because I could not figure out how to score. But the day after Iginla played his first game, a buddy of mine needed to create a player to put on the Flames. He didn’t know his name, only his nickname, so IGGY was the newest Flames player on the NHL 94 team.

Being that he scored his first goal in a playoff game, he must be pretty good right? Right, so we gave him 99’s in every category which we believed to be a spot on assessment of his skill.


Now its important to note that my hockey fever grew exponentially in the next few years. Hosting my first radio show on my tape deck, I made the executive decision to follow the Flames. After all, you can’t let down the "audience" right?

From Ken Wregget to Grant Fuhr and Fred Braithwaite, the Flames were a team that meddled from year to year, yet there remained a bright spot by the name of Iginla who shone brighter and brighter as the seasons wore on.

The 2000-2001 season was the first time I remember there being a real excited buzz around the guy. Iginla topped 70 points that year and potted 30 goals for the first time. But it the following 2001-2002 season when things all came together.


A late addition to Team Canada at the 2002 Olympics, the 01-02 season vaulted Iginla past "good guy" all the way up to Superstar status and not just in my eyes with my burgeoning tape radio show but in the mind of more mature hockey experts as well.  Iginla’s performance in Salt Lake brought him coast to coast accolades from Canadians nationwide, but it was his Flames season that resonated most with me.

Not only did he deserve to be on that team, it was his run to 50 (and eventually 52) goals that I’ll remember most. Peter Maher gave him the "Yeah baby!" when he hit 50 and his performance won him the Pearson and Richard trophies. But what sticks out to me most is that Hart Trophy snub at season’s end. If anyone not wearing a Habs jersey can explain to me how Jose Theodore has his name on that thing over Igninla I would certainly like to hear your argument.

But, alas, the past is the past.


Iginla hit the 50 goal plateau again two years ago in Mike Keenan’s first year as head coach and followed that up with 89 points season last year. Yet the fact remains, a lot of talk lately on Overtime has caller and emailers saying "he’s on the way down, he’s not the same player, and the point totals bear that out." Granted, this season has not been great, his play has been too inconsistent, and Iginla would be the first to admit that.

But the point totals don’t lie and 94, 98, and 89 point campaigns in the past 3 seasons keep Iginla in elite company in the NHL. Yes, he was certainly streaky at times last year, but it’s still almost 90 points when you add up his efforts on the season.

To sum it up

Jarome Iginla is the only player in Calgary Flames team history to play 1000 games in a Flaming C and he’s 2 seasons removed from a career high in points. Is it maybe a bit premature for us to be talking about his demise and downward trend?

Maybe 99’s across the board doesn’t hold in NHL 2010 but I think it’s way too soon to be talking about the end of Jarome Igninla’s reign amongst the elite players in the NHL. But what do you think?

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  • I remember the trade that brought Iggy to town. My brother and I were rattled to see Joe leave, particularly for some unproven rookie.

    Good thing we weren't GM. That has been the trade of the decade round these parts.

    Way to go hitting 1000 Jerome.

    • It's a trade that shaped both franchises in a lot of ways. Joe went on to win a Conn Smythe trophy for Dallas in their only Cup win, while Iginla has turned out to be one of the most important players in Calgary Flames history.

  • Bucknuck

    Oilers fan here. We coudl use him if Calgary fans are going to get all critical about the best player ever to don the Flaming "C".

    Send him to Edmonton. You can take any player you want in trade and it wouldn't be an overpay.

      • Bucknuck

        I wasn't looking for pity. I just can't believe Flames fans are talking about trading Iginla. You guys are crazy. If you trade him you aren't seeing playoffs for a couple of years. He is the heart and soul of that team, much like Ryan Smyth was in Edmonton.

        As for the Oilers there really is no excuse. They are a big pile of suck, but they are still my team and I still go to games and won't ever stop. I know that it will turn it around in the next couple of seasons and then I will be as cocky as ever. I am patient. Hopefully Tambellini does something soon so I have something to cheer about.

        Something like running our Captain out of town.

        • GSC

          Flames don't trade Iginla unless comes back in return. Sometimes you have let a leader run his course and if he can't get you to the finals its time for a regime change.

          You know, how you expect your Captain to get you all the way to 8th? We demand more.

          • Bucknuck


            Unless it is Crosby, Ovechkin, or Malkin I don't make the trade. There are other top flight players in the NHL but none of them have the heart that Iginla does. Even in a bad year he is on pace for 70+ points and 30+ goals. Do you really think he has no gas left in the tank?

            Iginla isn't the problem. It's the bunch of nobodies that are playing with him. Bourque and Stajan are good players, but neither of them belong on a top line and they are #2 and #3 in Calgary right now.

            This recent slump of Iggy's just proves how important he is to your franchise. If he isn't 100% then the whole team fails. That is a team problem, not an Iggy problem. They should be able to cover if Iggy has a dry spell.

          • There are clearly more guys that they would consider other than Crosby Ovechkin or Malkin. Iggy is getting old. I agree that it would be a mistake for the Flames to trade him but let's be honest, there are more guys that you would consider trading the guy for than those three. THose three are absolute impossibilities I might add.

            If Dallas throws in the towel maybe Richards might be on the move. He is exactly the kind of passing centre that Iginla needs to play with. The timing is tight for this year as Turco will likely be moved for help to see if Dallas can make a playoff run. They won't be able to know if they should throw in the towel yet and with the Olympic freeze coming they won't be able to see the results of any Turco trade in time.

          • Bucknuck

            True – Iginla will be 33 this year and is probably on the decline, and I suppose there are few people out there that you would consider, but I don't think they have the leadership skills or the heart that Iggy does. That is very hard to replace.

            I know full well no one in their right mind would trade any of the three I mentioned for a 33 year old. I am exaggerating a little, and there are a few players I might consider (Stamkos and Getzlat for example), but after the tenure that Iginla has had with the team and the gas I still think he has in the tank I think it would be a bad deal.

            He would be the best player on many teams in the league. Oilers, Wild, Phoenix, NYI, Montreal, Florida, St. Louis and Atlanta spring to mind really quickly. There are more I am sure.

  • I dont really care if iginla is steadily padding his stats to supplant himself as far and away the flames all time scorer. Our boy needs to get that fire back where he would put the flames on his back while simultaneously chipping away at the star defensemen assigned to cover Iggy on the other side before he Whooped his ass. It used to be that when Iginla would get angry, he'd fight someone and the rest of the team would get super stoked and pull their heads out of their asses and come away with the win. Now he is busy chirping fourth liners and losing battles in the corners to Alex Kovalev. What gives Jarome, What gives?