Jarome Iginla spent parts of 17 seasons as the go-to guy for the Calgary Flames, on and off the ice.
A star player and overall leader on a club that was often outside the spotlight, the fact he forged what will surely be a Hall of Fame career is a testament to his skills.
None of those seasons ended with a Stanley Cup championship, and the Flames haven’t even made the playoffs since 2009. But Iginla’s career has been reborn with a late-season trade to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have lots of talent and as good a chance as any to claim the title
“I don’t think it’s been an adjustment at all,” said Iginla, acquired on March 28. “As far as doing interviews and stuff, probably a few less, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’m just focused on trying to make sure I’m prepared and ready for the games and just keep trying to get better and add that to the group.”
That bunch includes stars Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Marc-Andre Fleury — so Iginla has no trouble keeping to himself. The main reason he attracted attention Monday after the Penguins held an optional practice before tonight’s Game 4 against the New York Islanders is the fact Crosby and Malkin took the opportunity to rest their legs and their voices.
The top-seeded Penguins lead the best-of-seven, first-round Eastern Conference series 2-1, and they have earned their two wins in different ways.
Pittsburgh jumped all over the Islanders at home in a 5-0 victory in Game 1, and then scratched and clawed all the way to escape with a 5-4 overtime win Sunday on the road in Game 3.
In between, the Islanders rallied for a win in Game 2. The Nassau Coliseum was rocking Sunday, but New York couldn’t ride the wave of emotion to a win, despite holding an early 2-0 lead.
“There were emotional rides in the game,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said Monday. “They came out with a surge and we turned a turnover right into a goal. I can’t say we handled it well. We got off to two goals against and led them feed off some speed and energy. From the time we got here, the atmosphere in the building, our players were really excited about the atmosphere here. It was pretty crazy.”