At 35 years old, his best days are clearly behind him. The only NHL team he’s ever played for, the Calgary Flames, hasn’t made the playoffs since 2008–09 and isn’t likely to break that streak this year. His contract is up at the end of the season, unrestricted free agency beckons, and the experts all seem to agree that it’s time for the Flames to finally trade him before next week’s deadline.
But should he go? And if so, where? Iginla has a no-trade clause and could veto any deal. Does he want to uproot his family just to be some team’s short-term rental? How would that affect his legacy in Calgary? What kind of message is he sending to his fans if he leaves? Then again, with the Flames going nowhere and only a few chances left to win his first Stanley Cup, what kind of message is he sending if he stays?
What to do, what to do.
Luckily, Iginla isn’t the first player to be in this situation. NHL history is filled with similar cases — star players, firmly identified with one team, who found themselves facing a possible move late in their career. And thanks to those players and the various choices they made, we have a pretty good idea about the different ways Iginla could go, and what those decisions would mean for him.
I’m here for you, Jarome. So I’ve put together a list of the possible ways that the last few years of your career could play out. Sit back, grab a coffee, review the options, and then choose the one that’s best for you.
In case you just saw the trailer for Upside Down and found yourself suddenly back to square-one on your big screenplay idea, here's what you missed in sports on Wednesday.
Wide receiver Wes Welker has left the New England Patriots, signing a two-year contract with the Denver Broncos. "I always hated Welker," said Northeastern sophomore and Patriots superfan Aaron Sullivan. "Just like I always hated Clemens, Vinatieri, Damon, Beckett, Ray Ray, Manny B, and Tom Brady." When asked why he hated Tom Brady, who never has left a Boston-based team to play for a rival, Sullivan responded, "Oh, guy thinks he's so great because he never left the Pats. Real Pats leave. Period."
The Miami Heat won their 20th consecutive game, beating the Philadelphia 76ers, 98-94, on the road. "Twenty in a row, that's a perfect game in Magic: The Gathering, am I right?" asked Heat forward Shane Battier after the game. "If only someone on this team would play with me. I have a sweet black/blue deck I want to try out. I tried to teach Chris Andersen how to play, but he kept folding up the cards and throwing them at me while yelling, 'Cacaw!' It was disappointing."
Kobe Bryant suffered an ankle injury while landing awkwardly on a late field goal attempt defended by Dahntay Jones, as the Los Angeles Lakers fell to the Hawks in Atlanta, 96-92. Bryant has been ruled out indefinitely with the injury, saying after the game, "Revenge isn't the sort of thing that has a timetable. Except for a 30-minute head start." When told of Bryant's statement half an hour later, Jones asked, "Wait, when did he say that?" before slipping on a loose piece of linoleum and bruising his knee.
Just one day after trying (and failing) to land Avalanche free agent Ryan O’Reilly with an aggressive offer sheet, Jay Feaster and the Calgary Flames found themselves in the center of a controversy over whether they’d almost committed an all-time blunder.
According to a report, the Flames would have had to place O’Reilly on waivers as soon as they signed him. That means Calgary would have given up the draft pick compensation and the $2.5 million signing bonus, only to see its new player immediately wind up elsewhere. That didn’t end up happening, because the Avalanche matched the offer sheet, robbing us all of what would have no doubt been a fascinating legal scramble, but the incident embarrassed the Flames and has fans calling for Feaster’s head.
All of which puts Feaster & Friends in good company. After all, NHL hockey is complicated business, and the Flames’ offer-sheet saga certainly wasn’t the first time that somebody in the hockey world found themselves getting tripped up by a legal loophole.
Whether it was through confusion, dishonesty, or just plain old incompetence, here are some infamous moments in NHL history that had fans and team officials alike scratching their heads and checking their rulebooks.
We’ll use the same format as we did earlier this week — expectations, reality, and whether it will continue — but add a special fourth category to deal with the possible fallout if the player continues to struggle.
We’re roughly 10 percent of the way through the NHL season, and that means it’s time for some teams to panic.
Not really, of course. Even in this abbreviated season, jumping to conclusions based on four or five games would be downright irrational. So any of you hockey fans who are completely rational when it comes to your team can go ahead and stop reading right now.
The other 98 percent of you still with me? Good. Let’s hit the panic button.
One note: We’re focused here on teams that are struggling relative to expectations. The Blue Jackets may have been iffy so far, but they’re clearly in rebuilding mode, and just about everyone had already picked them for last place. A team like that can’t be considered to be in panic mode by any reasonable definition.
The same can’t be said for many of the early season’s other underachievers. Here’s a look at some of the teams that aren’t living up to expectations right now:
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Monday.
Nelson Cruz hit the first walk-off grand slam in postseason history as the Rangers beat the Tigers 7-3 in 11 innings. The moment was so joyous that when Cruz crossed the plate, a camera caught Texas owner Nolan Ryan almost not scowling for the briefest of moments. Then he was definitely scowling again.