Corrections: I mispronounced Gelinas and Lecavalier, and incorrectly labeled Nieminen as a defenseman. Thanks to everyone who pointed it out, always trying to get better so that’s genuinely appreciated.
Jarome Iginla was one of the most exciting players to watch. There were so many weapons to his game that made him a consistent threat his entire career. But the longtime Flame never got to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup despite finding himself incredibly close.
In Calgary the biggest issue was financial. It’s honestly surprising he was able to stay a Flame as long as he did considering their history of being unable to retain superstar. But with Darryl Sutter handling both coach and GM duties, they made it work. Miikka Kiprusoff came over from San Jose to make the biggest difference. Iginla got help from Craig Conroy leading the hard hat crew of 2004 and ended a lengthy playoff drought by taking a long, winding road to the Final. There they met the Tampa Bay Lightning and combined for an incredible series.
Some might think the answer to why Iginla didn’t win a Cup is as simple as “Martin Gelinas no goal in game six,” which certainly contributes to it. But they still had another shot after that, and the series hadn’t been without drama before then either.
Iginla found more opportunities outside of Calgary as well, jumping aboard the Penguins during 2013’s lockout-shortened season to play alongside Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The league’s top offense helped earn the Presidents’ Trophy and found no issues through the first two rounds. Then they met the Bruins – the team Iginla could have joined instead of Pittsburgh. It went poorly.
Thankfully Iginla got a do-over and joined Boston for the following season, which like Pittsburgh looked to be a perfect fit. But rivalries tend to spoil things and Montreal did just that in an amazing seven-game series.
It was his last best chance. He came closer than so many, but further than seems fair considering the talent and mindset he maintained over a 20-year career. He’s still always going to be one of the best, he’s just also going to be untitled.
Written and produced by Will Buikema
Directed and edited by Ryan Simmons
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