Colorado Avalanche veteran Jarome Iginla played a total of 15:03 Wednesday night and had a pretty big hand in the final result. Unfortunately, however, Iginla’s contribution to the final score was due to him being in the penalty box for two Edmonton Oiler goals in another frustrating Avalanche loss.
“It’s disappointing,” Iginla said. “Anytime you have the lead in the third period at home, going in there and you don’t win the game, you’re always disappointed, as you should be and we are.”
The first Oilers power play goal came with eleven seconds remaining in the first period after Jarome Iginla was called for a hooking penalty that would be surprising for anyone to receive, let alone a veteran of Iginla’s caliber.
Shortly after Edmonton scored the fourth goal in, what was at the time, a 4-3 game, Iginla found himself in the box again on, seemingly, another soft call from the officials. Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl was then able to capitalize on the ensuing power play and crushed the comeback hopes for Colorado.
“They were frustrating, I didn’t agree with them,” said Iginla of both penalties called against him. “At important times in the game, you hate to be in the box for those. Saying that, after seeing them, I didn’t think they were penalties, but that’s the nature of the game and you hate to be in there and then they score two goals on them. You hate to hurt the team, but that’s part of the game.”
“I also thought that the other way, we were working hard and there was a few that could have went the other way too,” Iginla continued. “Some nights you get the calls that go your way and you feel good and you never think about it when you get the five or six power plays and when you don’t, you complain. It’s part of the game and it doesn’t feel good now.”
As frustrated as Iginla was with the officiating, his frustration with his point production is what really ate at him after the loss. He feels his newly found line combination, consisting of Blake Comeau on the opposite wing of Iginla and John Mitchell at center, should be producing at a higher level.
“For about five or six (games) we feel like we’ve been generating a lot more chances and getting some chemistry and stuff. Unfortunately, we haven’t got a lot of results, but we are going to stick with it.” Iginla stated.
“I think it will shift and it will go, but it does get a little bit frustrating because you want to be able to contribute offensively besides just chances and zone time and I think we can do that. Sometimes it’s a little harder than others and, unfortunately, we are in one of those spells as a threesome.”
Iginla continued discussing his line’s lack of point production by using a wily veteran’s saying that continues to give him a positive outlook on himself and his linemates, “I think we are finding some chemistry and getting those chances. The saying is, ‘you keep getting the looks, you’ve got to think the next one’s going to go in.’ We will keep working, try to work harder and stay positive and think the next one’s going to go in.”
Per usual, Iginla saw a significant amount of power play time on Colorado’s second power-play unit. Quarterbacking the second unit on the half-wall was Avs rookie Mikko Rantanen. A surprising selection to be the coordinator of the power play considering his youth, but Iginla had nothing but great things to say about the young Fin leading the troops.
“He has a lot of poise over there, he’s a confident guy, not arrogant or anything like that, but he is confident. He believes he can play as he can and he’s rolling for us and it’s not an easy job being the half-wall quarterback. You are under a lot of pressure and you would never know it. He is over there cool as a cucumber and making some great plays with Tyson, they have some great chemistry.”
Iginla continued his praise of Rantanen’s game.
“He is a very good player, but he is, surprisingly, for me, I hadn’t watched him a lot before I got here, and I thought, a big guy, go to the net, good shot, skates well, but he is a great playmaker.”
While the loss to Edmonton was, yet, another frustrating loss for the Avalanche, the veteran leadership of Jarome Iginla is invaluable. His ability to manage the frustration of Wednesday’s game, particularly when it is out of his control, along with his ability to remain positive provides the appropriate energy to help the rest of the team focus on what’s next and bounce back.
Having only scored two goals and two assists so far this season, it is easy to be critical of Iginla’s play, but the overwhelming presence he has in the dressing room and his ability to share a unique and knowledgeable perspective shows that there is still a lot of value in a guy like him. While Iggy figures out his scoring woes, we must all remember what he brings to the table when the cameras and lights are off.