The “Iginla’s Return” FN Roundtable




With Jarome Iginla’s emotional return to Calgary last night, the FlamesNation crew decided to revisit the Big Trade with the Penguns. As such, here’s a quick run around the table to see how Iginla’s remembered by this bunch and how things look for the Flames in the aftermath of his trade last March.

What’s your favourite Jarome Iginla memory?

Kent Wilson: Since everyone is going to pick "the Shift" (for good reason), I’m going to go with Iginla’s performance in the 2002 gold medal game. Many fans may not remember this now, but in 2002 Iginla was just still kinda considered just a good player on a  bad team. Flames fans loved him and he was a star in town, but he hadn’t reached the sort of transcendent superstar status he has since enjoyed over the majority of his career.

In fact, Iginla wasn’t even an initial invite to the Canadian team that year. He gained a roster spot because he was so dominant to start the season (coincidentally, 2001-02 was Jarome’s first 50+ goal effort and first Rocket Richard trophy). So to see him play on Sakic’s wing and score a couple of key goals to claim the gold was an incredible affirmation that the Flames had their first true elite talent since Thereon Fleury left town. Jarome had arrived in spectacular fashion in front of the whole world.

Book of Loob: I really had to sort through my favourite Iggy moments to come up with me favourite one. And believe me there are a TON to sort through: the 2004 run, "The Shift", the one punch KO to Willie Mitchell, the pass to Sid for Gold, his first goal in the playoffs against Chicago, the millions of pucks he murdered, etc. My favourite would have to be when he scored his 50th goal the second time, in 2007 against the Canucks.

First of all, he scored his 50th against the Canucks, which is perfect, but that was also Trevor Linden’s last game, and that’s when Linden hugged Iggy after the final horn and told him he was the best in the game. That moment stands out for me for two reasons: The first being because at the time when Linden said it, it was one of the last times where it could actually be true. Crosby and Ovi were staking their claim, but Iggy was still up there with them. He was that good.

The second one was, and keep in mind the CBC cameras picked up EVERYTHING in that little embrace, and yet Scott Oake, when interviewing Jarome after the game, was still compelled to ask what Linden had told him, and Iggy, unaware that the whole country knew what had been said, decided that it was such a special moment that he was going to leave it between him and Trevor, which to me speaks to the love and respect and compassion that Iginla has shown for the game and those who have played it for his entire career.

Byron Bader: So many memories to choose from. The Shift. The 2004 playoff run (looking back at the flames offensive team stats that year, he was just wow). The 2002 olympic run. IGGGGGY: The pass to Crosby. I think my absolute favorite moment is Iggy’s one and only Art Ross trophy in 2001-02 and his 50th goal that season.

On a team that didn’t really have much of anything, Iggy’s performance that year was just amazing. His early point production earned him a spot on the Olympic team essentially out of thin air as he wasn’t even considered an option at the start of the year. It was that year that the city fell in love with Jarome. He ended the year with 52 goals, 11 higher than the next closest player.  He had some stellar, stellar years later on but to put up 96 points and 52 goals with very little support, except for maybe Craig Conroy, and in the old clutch and grab NHL was truly amazing! My favorite moment, specifically, was him bursting up that right side and blowing that prototypical Iggy powerbomb of a shot right past Jocelyn Thibeault for his 50th goal. It was just perfect to watch him score his 50th that way.

Justin Azevedo: Yeah, mine is The Shift. For me, the defining Iggy moment wasn’t his first 50 goal season, his 500th goal, his 1000th point, his contributions on the 2002, 2006 or 2010 Olympic teams – no, it was The Shift. See, the thing with legendary moments is that you can describe them in the most generic way possible, yet the moment itself is able to be simultaneously identified with an amazing, exacting specificity. I say "The Shift" and every Flames fan on the planet immediately knows what I’m talking about. 1:32 of the best hockey of his career led to the Flames having the chance to clinch the Stanley cup at home, in front of the crowds that had suffered for so long. 1:32 of having his helmet ripped off, slashed, crosschecked, held and abused. 1:32 of pure power leading to a slap shot. 1:32 of work for a single reward: the goal by Oleg Saprykin.

My friends and I would celebrate the moment by riding around the town of Canmore on our bikes for what seemed like hours with every conceivable piece of Flames memorabilia possible – flags, jerseys, horns: one kid even had a bobble head he had taped onto the handlebars of his Kona. In reality, it probably only lasted 20 or so minutes – but sometimes time has a funny way of being relative. I choose to look at that shift as the perfect encapsulation of Jarome Iginla’s career: for so fucking long, he was the stick and the stone, the ying and the yang. Everything offensively and defensively he had the potential to be – he was. He was everything to this team. For 1:32 on June 3rd, 2004 – he played like it.

Christian Roatis: I was too young to really appreciate "The Shift" at the time, so my favourite moment comes in the form of the "Golden Goal". A game winning goal that HE set it up himself, and it directly led to HIS team winning something significant. I was also too young for the 2002 Olympic Gold, and I had seen him crash and burn with the rest of the Canadians in Turin, so to me – up to that point – he was a hero who had never won. Seeing him be one of the first in the huddle after the goal and knowing he finally won something, was an unbelievable feeling. Although it wasn’t for the Calgary Flames, it still felt amazing to see him be apart of that and I’ll remember it forever.

Taylor McKee:On a personal note, my all-time favourite player when I was real young was Theo, and I have a distinct memory of waiting by the tunnel after warmups to try and get Theo’s signature. Theo, who was a clearly a little bit prickly in those days, and skated into the room without acknowledging anyone. Jarome, who would have been in probably his third year with the club, skated off, walked right to me, signed my hat and asked me my name and did the same with every youngster there. A moment that I am sure I share with literally hundreds of kids all over the city, each one having ownership of a special moment with Jarome. That’s why, in an age of cynicism, he is universally beloved in this city.

As for a hockey memory, Iginla’s slap-shot 50th comes to mind as that was the first time I was truly aware of a Flame scoring 50. However, the most lasting memory I have is the Lecavalier fight. Now, I do not wish to appear a troglodyte, and fighting’s role in hockey is certainly problematic, but that moment etched has stuck with me for a long time. I am not even sure why to be perfectly honest. I just remember being so proud of the type of leader Jarome was in that moment and I never changed my mind. Jarome was always a captain that Flames fans could be proud of, no matter how the team did.

Ryan Pike: I’m gonna be abstract and go with the entire 2004 Cup Finals run. You got to see everything that made Jarome Iginla an elite NHL player. The physicality. The fighting. Passing, fighting for the puck and setting up and scoring key goals. During that run, nobody meant more to their team than Iginla did to the Flames.

It’s only been eight months, but who won the Jarome Iginla trade?

Kent: We can’t really say yet. The Penguins certainly didn’t win the trade because they gave up a few assets and we left with nothing. That said, we don’t really know if the Flames got any value out of the deal either. Agostino, Hanowski and Klimchuk could all turn out to be minor leaguers at best. Right now, the arrow points every so slightly in Calgary’s favor if only because there’s still a chance one of the kids develops into something.

BoL: I’m going to go out on a limb and say no one won the Iggy trade, but Calgary still has a chance to come out with the shootout point. I don’t believe that Ben Hanowski will ever amount to anything at an NHL level unless he goes full Roy Halladay and completely rebuilds his mechanics in the minors. Homey just can’t skate, and you can’t get away with that at the NHL level. Agostino shows some promise, but he doesn’t look like he’s trending in a direction of anything more than just a bit better than Hanowski.

The Pens essentially gave away some assets and got nothing out of it, and Iggy ended up in Boston where we all thought he was going, except the Flames don’t come away with the Bartkowski package we though the team was getting. I guess the wildcard here is Morgan Klimchuk. If he turns out to be a decent player for the Flames someday, ring the bell, because we have a winner and it’s the Calgary Flames. But he’s going to have to be really good, because he’ll forever be one of the guys who was traded for Jarome Iginla, and like it or not, there’s some pressure there. Gotta play through it somehow.

Byron: Can’t really tell yet but I’d call it a draw. We got some okay prospects and a 1st rounder back. That’s about what you’d expect for him at that point in his career. If one or a combination of those guys come in and put up a few points and play 20+ games than we got more out of it than the Penguins did, if we’re just talking about the numbers. But we were able to send Jarome exactly where he wanted to go to try and get that cup that we’ve wanted to see him hoist for over ten years. He wanted to do it here and we wanted him to do it here but it wasn’t in the cards. It didn’t work out in Pitt either but he certainly came close. This city would have gone nuts if he would have won, even with Pittsburgh. Rebuild aside, it was a fan’s victory to let him go and have that chance at the cup again.

Justin: No one has, or likely will, win the trade. Pittsburgh lost three assets, didn’t win the cup and didn’t resign Iginla. Calgary gained two marginal assets in Hanowski and Agostino (both of whom will likely top out as 3rd line players, at best) and a late 1st round draft pick in Klimchuk (who has about a 30% chance of being a top-6 forward). That might look like a good return (3 NHLers? Woo!) but third liners are available often on the free agent market and it costs a lot less to sign Joe Blow than it does to sign Hanowski, develop him and have a roster spot used by him. If Klimchuk turns out, Calgary wins. If he doesn’t, no one wins.

Christian: The Calgary Flames at this point, just because they have three assets who haven’t shown what they can be yet while Pittsburgh is already done with Jarome. They didn’t win a cup so Iginla’s acquisition didn’t do what it was meant to, while one of Klimchuck, Agostino or Hanowski can still turn into a cornerstone for this franchise – the reason that they were acquired. In the end, it’s more than likely the return won’t do Flames fans justice because of who was dealt, but from a strictly hockey perspective, the Flames have the edge – at least for now.

Taylor: Certainly not Pittsburgh who gave up three assets and wasn’t able to win a a championship with him. Even still, it could have been worse for the Penguins as they got one of the best available rentals without dipping into their blue-chip prospects, though who knows what will become of Morgan Klimchuk. The Flames got two marginal prospects and Klimchuk, so obviously if two of those three turn into reliable NHLers than the Flames did okay, especially considering their lack of leverage with respect to Iginla’s demands.

Ryan: I’m inclined to say either “nobody, yet” or Boston. The Flames got three assets, but arguably not the package Boston would’ve given them. The Penguins got an expensive rental player. The Bruins kept their kids and got Iginla anyway.

  • schevvy

    Love the Iggy memories – all great ones.

    My favorite is more personal – the 500th goal. Because of my brother, I was fortunate enough to be a guest of Peter Maher at the game, sat in the pressbox, and was able to go to the dressing room after the game. When the Minnesota game was coming up and that was chosen as our game to attend, we could only hope it’d be the 500 goal game. And then to actually see it heppen live, then go meet Iggy after the game – well, it was a great final memory of Iggy in Calgary for me.

    And the best part – it was the game Lance Bouma scored his first goal and Iggy kept trying to get the horde of reporters at his locker to spend more time talking to Bouma. Wasn’t happening, but Iggy was always class.

  • schevvy

    Oh god. So many to choose from. Have to agree with Justin though, the Shift was just the most Iginla moment ever. No helmet, out-battling everyone, and eventually leading to Saprykin’s goal. Just incredible.

    Fun side note: to put into perspective just how awesome Iggy was in that 04 playoff run, I was watching the intro to one of the Cup Final games yesterday and the Flames starting lineup was: Craig Conroy, Iggy, and…Chris Simon. Yes, Iggy led the playoffs in goals with Chris Simon on his line. Unbelievable

  • NHL93

    Favourite Iggy moment was his dominance at the ’96 WJC. We had just gotten him for Neuwy and my mother, of all people, was watching a game and asked “who’s number 12? He’s got a great smile.” More than the smile, the kid rocked that tourney, leading the tournament in points and winning gold.

    • Craig

      Wow, I’m not the only one that remembers him from the WJC. I was pissed that Nieuwy was traded but I knew who Iginla was from his Memorial Cup wins.

      Hey know who else was in that same WJC? Kiprusoff.

    • Watching Iggy in that tournament made me totally cool with the Nieuwy trade. He was a full on beast in the WJC.

      Funny that Canada’s goalie was Jose Theodore, who robbed Iggy of the Hart in ’02. Still a bogus call in my opinion

  • NHL93

    Something very sobering that I came to realize only just last night was that it’d be the last time we’d hear Beesley give his iconic JAROOOOOME IGINLA announcement. While not a specific moment in Iginla’s prolific career, most definitely a piece that helped this fan appreciate and share in his light every game.

  • calgaryfan

    Flames won the trade for Iggy. It allowed the team to move forward with the rebuild. What they got in the trade is just a bonus, if anyone of them plays for the Flames.

    • jonahgo

      Absolutely agree 100%! The Flames were beyond stagnant and ‘Iginla as icon’ had already overshadowed the rest of the team and organization for years, much to to theirs and the fans detriment. They may as well have removed the ‘Flaming C’ from the player’s jerseys and replaced it with a shot of Iginla’s mug.

      That Iginla screwed us over and we lost out on the better package from Boston is out of our hands and can’t be changed. New leadership in Giordano has been very welcome.

      I think Agostino will play and I have high hopes for Klimchuk (who I liked a lot on draft day), but the Flames need to really develop him patiently.

  • calgaryfan

    He had some pretty memorable fights… one thing I will remember is the fight with Bill Guerin… there is some back story to this: In the 2002-2003 preseason Guerin had two handed a rookie on his team who was playing him hard in a scrimage trying to earn a spot.

    In the first tilt between the Flames and Dallas that year Iggy really stepped up and stood up to Guerin… although it resulted in a broken hand for Iggy and a disappointing season for the flames … it served as a real example of what a real man should be and what a role model should be… yeah iggy can shoot and score but he would never back down and would be that guy to stand up for teammates and stand up for the right way to play the game.

  • loudogYYC

    So good to hear Beasley say Jaroooooome Igiiinlaaaa! last night.

    I’m kinda surprised no one mentioned it, but Iggy’s performance in game 7 of round 1 against Vancouver was as good as I’ve ever seen in hockey. Classic power forward, the Canucks couldn’t even come close to handling him.

    My favorite Iggy moment was about a year ago during the lockout, I ran into him and Connie at the Trop and he ended up buying us a boatload of shots of Jagger. I promised him I’d buy his new jersey if he was traded, now I have a Penguins Iginla jersey I can’t do much with.

    • jonahgo

      yeah, i was thinking of game 7 against vancouver too. that is my favorite ‘memory.’ i started following the team in the early 90s, so this was the first time i watched them win a playoff round. i can recall the vancouver ’94 and san jose ’95 game 7 losses quite vividly still…

      iginla was masterful in that game. unforgettable.

  • I am with Ryan Pike.

    The whole cup run for me really cemented my adoration of the Flames. I was too young for the great teams of the 80’s and I was weaned on the abysmal Young Guns era of terrible teams out of the playoffs. The run in 2004 and the hysteria in the city really made me into a Flames fan for good. Before that I was a fairly casual fan, but Iggy, Kipprusoff and that whole ridiculous run was the most fantastic period of Flames hockey for those of us who sort of missed the cut on the 80s years.

    Leading up to Iginla coming back, I was sort of blase, he was gone and the era was finished, but watching the tribute and seeing him back in the dome made it all come crashing home again. I am glad to have watched him for all of my adult life, and sorry to see him go.

  • jonahgo

    There are many Iggy moments, but, there is one that I never get tired of watching and that is the fight with Willie Mitchell when he was on the Canucks. Both of them detached the straps on the helmets, tossed them aside and Mitchell started punching Iggy, but the punches were all on the back of Iggy’s neck. Iggy then started going punch for punch with Mitchell, then he ducked and switched to his left and tagged Mitchell with a left cross that buckled Mitchell. Iggy then skates over to the penalty box and lets out a “WOOO!”

  • jonahgo

    Outside the 2004 playoff run (where Iginla should have won the Conn Smythe despite not emerging as champion), my favourite moment was in roughly 2001 or 2002. The great and dominant Detroit Red Wings were visiting the Saddledome, but Iginla was magical that night, potting a goal or two, leading the team to victory.

    His crowning moment was a bloody tilt with Brendan Shanahan. Those two went toe-to-toe in the probably the greatest fight I’ve ever seen live.

    The best part, however, came when I read the paper the next day. Iginla was quoted as saying something like, “Shanahan was a hero of mine growing up and it was a honour to play him yadda yadda”. In the next paragraph, Shanahan was like, “The kid is fantastic, he’s going to be a superstar, etc.”

    The mutual respect they had for each other despite (or because of) the tremendous battle they had just fought simply blew me away. It was an indicative moment and truly encapsulates Iginla’s career to date.

    The Flames won too, so that was good to see.