Iginla impressions

So, I’ve got it! I’ve figured out how to spur Jarome Iginla into the 50-goal product he was 2 seasons ago! (I’m a genius). Bring in Sidney Crosby and Rick Nash, and you’ve got it made. I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before! In all seriousness, a great outing to start for Team Canada and that Iginla guy didn’t fare too well either.

Just for the sake of clarity, Jarome DOES indeed have a hat trick — the 8th goal in Canada’s 8-0 win over Norway has officially been credited to him. It certainly was an interesting game in a lot of facets, but focusing on Iggy is what I wanted to do for the FN faithful. It’s funny… the pulse on our postgame show on The FAN 960 seemed to be, "See, I told ya this guy was still a stud" with a little, "Come on, don’t get too excited, it’s Norway" mixed in for good measure. I fall somewhere in the middle.

Look, obviously everyone was going to look just a little bigger, faster, stronger and more skilled against the Norwegian team. Lets face it, that’s not even an NHL caliber team let alone a team able to skate with the best assembled national teams in the world. They were able to keep things "competitive" in the first frame, but when the flood gates opened, Norway was overwhelmed.

What I liked about this game from a Canadian perspective was how they were able to iron out some of their chemistry and familiarity issues fairly quickly. Obviously a lot of things might be hidden against a mediocre opponent, but I really felt Iginla was a big part of the Canadian team getting in sync. After 20 minutes, I had written down two names of guys who had really stood out to me. Iginla and Shea Weber, for the same reasons. I felt both had gone out of their way to force their issue on their opponents, and I think for Iginla’s sake, it caught the eye of the Team Canada coaching staff.

Iginla started the game on a "4th line" with Brenden Morrow and Jonathan Toews, and saw a little first period powerplay time as well. He laid out a big hit on Norway Player X in the first period, which got my attention, and I wonder if it might have got Mike Babcock’s. In the 2nd period, Canada was awarded their 3rd powerplay of the game, and Iginla was put with Sidney Crosby and Rick Nash in a man up situation. Very shortly into said powerplay, Doughty finds Crosby who finds Iggy and bam, this game is effectively over.

As the game went along, Iginla played a few more shifts on that "4th line" but was with Crosby and Nash for the majority of the final 40 minutes, and for good reason…he earned it. That line was first put together at the beginning of orientation camp, which I had the pleasure of attending here in Calgary back in August. They showed some chemistry to start, but were broken up by the end of it… but Babcock knew there was something there, and went back to it in this game, and clearly it paid off.

What I liked most was HOW Iginla scored his goals. The final goal was him driving to the net and tipping home a Rick Nash shot. The other goals were on nice passes with Iginla finishing. His first goal was textbook Jarome. He found the soft spot, sat back, and wired a perfect pass home.

Now, how does this apply to the Flames? Well, I don’t really think Crosby or Nash caliber players will be joining the team anytime soon. BUT what it does show is that if Iginla has someone adept at distributing the puck, he can finish. Is Matt Stajan on the level of Sidney Crosby? Clearly, no. But he does have an ability to move the puck around to players, and we’ve seen that in a limited body of work playing with Iginla. If Jarome can keep playing the way he did down the stretch leading up to the break, and if Stajan can remain a steady puck distributing center…I think we could see some success. Maybe not Crosby-Nash-Iginla success…but lets not forget, Iginla’s a big part of that, as I don’t believe Patrice Bergeron would have been scoring 3 had he remained on that line.

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  • Nice to see Iggy pick up the hatty for Team Canada while simultaneously overshadowing Luongo's shutout in front of countless 'Nucks fans.

    It's clear that having all-star players like Crosby and Nash on your line is a major factor. That being said, there have been countless games this season where Iggy has had good opportunities and just didn't seem to have the neccesary finishing touch. That certainly wasn't the case yesterday, where every solid opportunity he had ended up in the back of the net.

    • I think part of it with Jarome, for better or worse, has to do with confidence and comfort level with who he's playing with. When he likes who is on his line, elite players or not (example, Conroy a few years ago), Iginla is a force. The comfort breeds confidence in my eyes.

  • madisonjanine

    That is one of the things that I really like about Babcock's coaching. Jarome proved that he deserved to be on that top line and so he got to play there. I really liked that line at the camp in the summer so I was glad to see it back! Although I did think that "4th line" was playing really well together and I wouldn't mind at all if Jarome was on that line for any of the other games.

    Also that fact that Jarome was getting cheered for like that in Vancouver was pretty awesome to see!

    • But you know what, I'm going to disagree…even when Iginla wasn't scoring and when his play wasn't as top notch as it needed (ex: 9 game winless skid), he was still very strong defensively.

      Is he Jere Lehtinen in his prime? No. But what the Flames need right now is the entire team buying into what the coach is preaching, and that starts with the guy wearing the C. And I think his committment to his defensive game has been evident throughout the season.

  • Iggy blah blah hat-trick blah blah get a centre blah blah


    He's a champion…I wont finish it. You all know the line.

    Pat, If you have parting words with Cope, tell him Domebeers thinks he is the ish.

    Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

  • If you put Iginla with better line mates as suggested, could we use one of the crappier players you demote as a chauffeur for our booze bag injured Starting Goalie who is signed for 3 more years?

    And that brings to an end the Oilers Report for Feb 17, 2010.

    *bursts into tears and wishes anyone good played in Edmonton*