“We can win.” – Jarome Iginla
No, not those three.
Trade Jarome Iginla.
It probably all started with a disgruntled diatribe by a frustrated fan on a blustery blog but once the mainstream media picked up the signal, it has quickly elevated into the talk of the town.
As this winter of our discontent slowly dissolves into a passionless – and hockey-free - spring, sideline scribes and armchair anarchists are speculating on where the axe will fall and whose heads will roll when the mighty blade descends. Most puck prognosticators assume that the Sutter family fraternity will feel cold sting of the hot-tempered executive who have a duty to maintain the bottom line and bury someone underneath it when the eX’s and Oh’s don’t equal dollars and sense.
But throw Captain Calgary under the bus? Yes, it’s true that the Jarome Iginla who returned to the Stampede City after the Olympics with the glowing glitter of gold adorning his pride-swelled chest didn’t even remotely resemble the hard-willed warrior who helped make the Maple Leaf fly forever.
No goals in the past ten games, only 15 goals in the four months since he dazzled the denizens in November and earned Player of the Month accolades from his NHL peers. Yes, as captain, he was expected to carry the torch and light a fire under his under-achieving brethren.
And yes, he failed. He had company. The last time I looked hockey was still a team sport. What about the rest of the Flames who were just as dismal in the teams demise?
This was a season of anomalies – a year of divided loyalties, especially for those players chosen to represent their country in their country. Few play the game and accept their role with the same emotional and physical edge as Iginla. He’s expected to carry the offensive load on the ice and when necessary, physically punish those infiltrators who dare flare the Flame, fire up the competitive spirit in the dressing room and maintain a steady, calm and even-keeled focus in front of the cameras. And he has never let the team down on that account of the ledger.
It’s probable that a new regime will be calling the shots when the decision to jettison Iginla is made.
Remember what it took to get him in the first place and the uproar that it caused when Joe Nieuwendyk was dispatched to Dallas for an unknown commodity that became the face of the franchise.