If you’re an NHL player – even one of the best ones on and off the ice like Jarome Iginla – the script rarely ends with you getting the final edit. For instance, Hall-of-Famer Doug Gilmour had to crawl along the Calgary ice Iginla called home for so many years in his final game in hockey’s best league.
But the way the 2012-13 season ended was not the way anyone wanted to remember Iginla. He was mediocre on a terrible Flames team and almost a forgotten option on a good Penguins team by the time Pittsburgh’s playoff run ended without ceremony. He was about to turn 36 years old and people were wondering if the miles on his odometer had begun taking their toll on the rest of the vehicle.
However, as we’re seeing this season in Boston, Iginla is proving his competitive tank was never in danger of drying up, nor was his engine about to seize. He is settling in quite nicely – as he demonstrated again Thursday by scoring the shootout winner in a 3-2 Bruins victory over the Ducks –as another experienced hand on an expectant, veteran-laden squad.
It did take him a handful of days and weeks to find his place with the Bruins, but in his past six games, Iginla has three goals and eight points and was the only shooter from Boston or Anaheim to beat the goalie in Thursday’s shootout. There’s a reason why nobody is complaining about Nathan Horton’s departure – and that reason is Iginla. His physical edge is a far better fit on the roughhouse Bruins. And although there’s no doubt an an injury or a slippage in skill waits somewhere down fate’s road for him, it’s good to see one of the NHL’s proudest lions won’t go out like a lamb anytime soon.