The Los Angeles Kings season is slipping away from them as they try to hold onto some hope that they’ll make it into the postseason. One of the team’s big trade acquisitions to boost their playoff chances was the aging Jarome Iginla from the Colorado Avalanche.
Iginla is a player who is definitively over the hill but able to contribute from time to time. Wednesday night was one of his times to shine, with Iginla finding a little spark to go off of as his banner career continues on despite the odds.
In a 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames, the veteran right winger ended his impressive night with a Gordie Howe hat trick (goal, assist and a fight) and was a steadying force in an otherwise crazy game.
Final score aside, what most were talking about in the game’s aftermath was the fight that Iginla had with Deryk Engelland. There is 73 years of living between the two of them and a long, spirited scrap between the two bruisers put a smile on those who enjoy that side of hockey.
To say that Wednesday’s Flames-Kings game was testy is a bit of an understatement. During warmups, it was getting heated and battle lines were being drawn. The heat was on, especially when brash Flame Matthew Tkachuk made some interesting remarks to the media in response to the Kings’ Drew Doughty calling him a dirty player.
Naturally, that boiled over into the ensuing game and Tkachuk went searching for a fight and found no initial takers.
It didn’t take long for Tkachuk to find a willing combatant in Brayden McNabb.
A seemingly innocuous divisional rivalry has upped the ante and with the game’s playoff implications, tensions boiled over. The Kings eventually emerged victorious with the help of Iginla. He kept their slight hopes alive and showed real passion for the game.
As the NHL moves further and further away from fighting, it is endearing and odd to see a 39-year-old player participate in a fight. He still cares and doesn’t want to give up on this season. The impact of fighting on actual gameplay is minimal, but seeing someone step up in moments of desperation can be inspiring.
Fighting in hockey is considered to be for neanderthals and for good reason. It’s dying a just death. But at the tail end of the regular season, Iginla showed up when his team needed him. He faced off against his old club, willing to fight for every inch of the ice. That doesn’t deserve to be discounted.
Maybe Iginla’s swan song hasn’t come just yet.