I was having trouble picking a team to win the Calgary/Chicago series for a number of reasons. Honestly, I love the way Calgary is put together and their style of play. Jarome Iginla is a fantastic player and leader, and he and Phaneuf easily tip the scales the Flames’ way.
However, Chicago has Pat Kane, Johnathan Toews, and Patrick Sharp. All three players are young and a lot of fun to watch. There is also that whole Brian Campbell thing, although to be honest I think that hampers good will for me.
On Monday night Game Three exploded in the final few minutes, and I finally figured out who I wanted to win.
I’ve seen a lot of individuals praise Jarome Iginla for many things over his career, but I don’t think he will ever get the credit he deserves from most fans. Put it this way: if he played for the Habs or Rangers he would be the biggest star on the planet.
His skill and toughness would win over the fans that don’t get to see him play unless they stay up late to watch Hockey Night in Canada. Quite frankly, those that can get CBC around these parts are lucky to get that chance. How many times do you see Calgary on Versus?
The way he stood up for his teammate in the final minute was pretty inspiring, and while the announcers said he needed to back down and prevent injury, you knew the message he was sending was more important. This wasn’t about settling a personal score or posturing for posturing’s sake; this was about sticking up for a teammate and defending his team.
I have no idea what’s going to happen tonight, and this series is far from over. However if there is anything I have learned thus far in the playoffs it is that Iginla deserves the chance at a Stanley Cup. If there are guys that “deseve it,” I’d put him near the top of the list. I may be taking the “hockey agnostic” route this spring, but if there is any guy I’m rooting for, it is him.