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Iginla career highlights discussed by NHL.com writers

2004 Stanley Cup Final, gold-medal game at 2010 Vancouver Olympics among most memorable moments

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Jarome Iginla's career was filled with too many memories to count.

He made a Hockey Hall of Fame-worthy impact on and off the ice during an NHL career that stretched from 1996 to 2017 and saw him play 1,554 games for the Calgary Flames, Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings.

Iginla finished with 1,300 points (625 goals, 675 assists). He led the NHL in goals twice and in points once. In 2002, he won the Lester B. Pearson Trophy (now known as the Ted Lindsay Award) as most outstanding player in the NHL as selected by the players.

 

[RELATED: Jarome Iginla career timeline]

 

So what was the best moment during a career filled with amazing moments? With Iginla announcing his retirement Monday, we asked eight NHL.com writers for their favorite.

Not surprisingly, his exploits during Calgary's run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2004 and with Canada at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics were well-represented, but so were some other moments.

 

Amalie Benjamin, staff writer

When Iginla signed with the Bruins as a free agent July 5, 2013, I headed to Calgary that August for a story on the future Hall of Famer. I met with his mom, Susan Schuchard, in an unassuming chain diner in Calgary (her choice), and we talked over breakfast about how he had gotten here, how she had gotten here, about raising a hockey player as a single mom, about infinitely long car rides over the mountains to games, about everything involved in his ascent to NHL stardom. She was a longtime music teacher and she told me that she always made sure to impart a piece of wisdom to her students: "I actually have helped a lot of kids realize not just that dreams are possible, that they're real." She knew: She had seen it firsthand.

 

Tim Campbell, staff writer

Iginla did a lot of important and amazing stuff during his career in the NHL, including leading the League in points in 2001-02 (96) and in goals twice (52 in 2001-02; 41, tied with Ilya Kovalchuk and Rick Nash, in 2003-04).

Less about statistics but every bit as important was being voted the best player in the NHL by his peers in 2001-02 (Lester B. Pearson Trophy) and being recognized for his leadership and personal excellence in winning the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 2003-04 and the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award in 2008-09.

It is that side of Iginla's career, the human side, that was always the most impressive. Some elite players are not wired this way, but Iginla was always quick with a smile, engaged in conversations and always a joy to talk to.

I recall one of those conversations during his next-to-last season while playing with the Avalanche. Iginla's role was not the same as at the peak of his career, but his willingness to share insight and analysis was as strong as ever.

And he did it with a smile. That's what I'll remember about his career.

Video: Looking back on Jarome Iginla's stellar career

 

Nick Cotsonika, columnist

Overtime. Game 5 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Final in Tampa. Iginla loses his helmet in a tussle behind the Tampa Bay Lightning net. Tampa Bay clears the zone, but Iginla doesn't leave the ice with usual linemates Craig Conroy and Martin Gelinas, instead staying out with Marcus Nilson and Oleg Saprykin. The Flames regroup and regain the offensive zone, and Iginla, bald head bare, fires a shot from the right circle. Saprykin scores on the rebound for a 3-2 victory, pulling the Flames within one win of the Cup heading back to Calgary for Game 6.

Iginla never did win the Cup, but he did it all in those playoffs. He led in the locker room, threw his weight around on the ice, had 13 goals (first in the NHL) and 22 points (third), and averaged 23:18 of ice time (second among forwards).

 

Tom Gulitti, staff writer

In Game 3 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Final, Iginla had a Gordie Howe Hat Trick -- a goal, an assist and a fight -- to lead the Flames to a 3-0 victory against the Lightning that gave them a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. What stood out the most, of course, was Iginla's fight with Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier 6:17 into the game that set the early tone.

After Iginla and Lecavalier came together behind the Calgary net, they exchanged shoves and then dropped the gloves. Iginla was the more experienced fighter and had a slight edge in the bout, but Lecavalier held his own. Iginla then set up Chris Simon's goal that opened the scoring with 6:07 remaining in the second period and scored a power-play goal with 1:32 remaining in the third period that made it 3-0.

 

Tracey Myers, staff writer

There are so many highlights from Iginla's career from which to choose. But I'm a sucker for a great milestone, so I'll go with Iginla scoring his 600th NHL goal Jan. 4, 2016, helping the Avalanche defeat the Kings 4-1. It wasn't the most highlight reel-worthy goal Iginla ever scored -- his attempted pass in the third period hit Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin's skate and went past goaltender Jhonas Enroth. But it was nevertheless another memorable moment in a career full of them.

Video: LAK@COL: Iginla tallies his 600th career goal

 

Dan Rosen, senior writer

The shift that personifies Iginla -- his heart, hustle, power, determination and skill -- happened at the end of Game 5 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Final against Tampa Bay.

This was Iginla's rampaging helmetless shift that led to Saprykin scoring in overtime to give the Flames a 3-2 win and a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series. They lost the next two games and the Stanley Cup, but let's focus on Iginla.

He creates the possession that leads to a scoring chance for himself. He loses his helmet behind the net. Calgary keeps possession and, of course, a helmetless Iginla goes to the front of the net. He darts to the corner, gets the puck, and attempts to set up another scoring chance.

Iginla later retrieves the puck on a backcheck, dishes it off, gets it back in the right circle, and rips a shot. The rebound pops out into the traffic, and Saprykin puts it in.

Nothing was stopping Iginla on this shift. The only thing he didn't do was score.

 

Dave Stubbs, columnist

It is not one of Iginla's 1,300 NHL points that stands out most for me. It is Iginla's 14th and final point in his 19th game wearing Canada's Olympic jersey -- an assist on Feb. 28, 2010, one that put breath back in the lungs of 22 million Canadians who almost couldn't bear to watch overtime in the gold-medal game of the Vancouver Olympics.

Playing in his third Olympics, it was Iginla who was belted to the ice from behind by United States defenseman Ryan Suter on the half-wall, slipping a sweet, almost blind pass to captain Sidney Crosby. And it was Crosby who buried Canada's "Golden Goal" behind goaltender Ryan Miller at 7:40 of OT.

"There's different pitches to a guy's voice when he's yelling for it," Iginla said of Crosby. "This was pretty urgent, so I knew he had a step."

"What did you yell at Iggy?" Crosby was asked.

"Iggy!" he replied, laughing.

 

Mike Zeisberger, staff writer

First Iginla heard his name.

Then he heard the roar.

When Crosby screamed "Iggy" midway through the first overtime of the gold-medal game at the Vancouver Olympics, Iginla immediately knew what to do. Though he couldn't see Crosby, he immediately passed the puck from the boards in the direction of Crosby's voice.

Moments later, the pandemonium of an entire country told him he'd helped make history.

Iginla's centering feed was converted by Crosby for the winning goal at 7:40 of OT, giving Canada a memorable 3-2 victory against the U.S.

If Crosby's feat is forever known as the Golden Goal, shouldn't Iginla's assist be labelled as the Golden Helper? It is in my book.

Crosby's goal arguably was the second-most historic moment in Canadian sports, trailing only Paul Henderson's series-winning goal in Game 8 of the 1972 Canada-Soviet Union Summit Series. As such, the fact that Iginla set up the Golden Goal is his shining hockey moment.

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