Colorado Avalanche: Jarome Iginla is a Tough Teacher


Jarome Iginla was signed by the Colorado Avalanche to bring scoring and leadership to a promising young team. Although his goal scoring has slowed down, he still has lessons to teach the young Colorado Avalanche.

Jarome Iginla’s 1500th game ended earlier than the rest of the Colorado Avalanche.  After earning two minor penalties with 3:28 left in the game, he was ejected from the game and finished it in the visiting locker room of the Bell Centre.

Considering the score was 10-1 in favor in Montreal, you can bet at least a couple players on the Colorado Avalanche bench were envious of Iginla’s early exit.  Given the passionate play of Iginla that earned him these two penalties, you can bet that Iginla had the opposite feeling.

Iginla’s two penalties, one for roughing and one for unsportsmanlike conduct, came in a response to a low hip check by Montreal defender Alexi Emelin on Avs forward Joe Colborne.  After seeing 6’5″ Colborne flipped head over heals by this hit, Iginla lost it and came to the defense of his teammate.

Charging after Emelin, Iginla did his best to fight Emelin, dropping his gloves and fighting past players and refs to get his hand on the defender.  Meanwhile, Emelin did his best to not fight Iginla, evading his advances, including taking shelter behind his superstar goalie, Carey Price.

In the end, Iginla was unable to get his hands on Emelin and instead found himself in the locker room early.  Emelin was also ejected, receiving three minor penalties for clipping, roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct, respectively.

In one of the absolute worst games in Colorado Avalanche history, this was the highlight of the night.  For the Colorado Avalanche players, hopefully this was a valuable lesson and wake up call.

Throughout the night the Avs played in a stupor, allowing an incredible four goals in the first half of the first period.  Unfortunately, it didn’t stop there, as the Canadiens picked up four more goals throughout the game.

For any NHL player on any team, this is about as embarrassing as it gets.  Yet, it seemed to have little effect on the Colorado Avalanche, who continued their meek play for sixty minutes, as if they were resigned to their fate.

However, this was all too much for Jarome Iginla who let his rage boil over into the furor that got him ejected from his much anticipated and celebrated 1500th career NHL game.

Anyone who’s watched Iginla in his short stint with the Colorado Avalanche knows that this is a guy that plays with fire and passion. Anyone who’s watched him more than a handful of times knows the look he gets when he gets riled up and goes after somebody.

Tonight was different.  Tonight, Iginla looked like a man possessed as he fought to get his hands on Alexi Emelin.  In the movements of this bedeviled madman lay a teaching moment for the his meek young teammates.

This lesson is simple: stand up for yourself and don’t take defeat lying down.

Although Emelin’s hit was called for a clipping penalty, it was a borderline legitimate hip check.  Yet for an Avs team behind by nine goals, it was another embarassing moment in which they failed to respond.

After getting flipped over by Emelin, Colborne got back up and went for the puck as if nothing happened.  He didn’t even seem to realize Iginla’s mad charge for Emelin until the whistle blew.  Ditto for the other four skaters minus Iginla.

Now, I think it’s been a big step for the NHL to move away from some of the goonery and unnecessary violence that has characterized the league for a long time, but sometimes it has it’s place.

If the Avs weren’t already fired up about being embarrassed so badly on national television in Canada, this hit should’ve sent them over the edge. They all should’ve gone after Emelin, or at least someone wearing red.

The color commentator for Sportsnet echoed this thought, saying, “at the end of the day, it’s up to Joe Colborne to get up and discuss it with him immediately”.

This team has seemed to lack an edge and refuses to play with a chip on their shoulder even after falling to last place in the league.  At some point you have to do something to stand up for yourself, and tonight was their opportunity.

Yet, after going down 6-1 in the first period the Avs didn’t come out with fire or passion.  They didn’t turn up the physicality and start making big hits.  No, they just kept up their meek play, and still got outscored in the last two periods by a score of 4-1. Embarrassing.

At this point in his career, no doubt Iginla is frustrated at not being able to score, losing pace to the younger guys and playing for the worst team in hockey.

Tonight he gave his young teammates a glimpse of what a true hockey player looks like that plays with an edge and a high degree of self-respect.

Now, had all the Avs on the ice gone after Emelin the game likely wouldn’t have changed much.  But, it would’ve sent a message to the team, that what they need more than anything right now is to play with intensity and passion in all moments of the game.

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Hopefully, seeing the oldest guy on the team go mad with rage helped some of these guys see whats missing from their games.  Iginla’s on his last leg of his career but his fire’s still burning hot.

In his post game comments, Iginla summed it perfectly, stating,

"“At that point of the game when they’re beating us like that, it’s not really a matter of whether it’s clean or not. Just don’t think (it’s right). If I’m going up-over like that with two minutes left and down 10-1 I’d hope guys are coming in (for me). That’s the way I’ve played and I think that’s the way it should be played."

He’s right – thats the way it should be played.  He understands, it’s not just about the score of the game, or being professional, it’s about the way that you play the game, winning  or losing.

Jarome Iginla showed a lot of character tonight, as he has for a 1,500 game career.  The rest of the Colorado Avalanche – not so much.  Hopefully they are still learning from this legend while they have the chance.