Alright, I have to admit that I am not as huge of a hockey nerd or buff as some people so I paid no attention to the NHL revealing it’s 100 Greatest Players list yesterday. That is, until our site manager mentioned that long-time Calgary Flames player Jarome Iginla was not on the list. My reaction at first was that there are and have been a lot of great players in the league’s 100-year history (to me the greatest will always be Mario Lemieux), so it’s possible he wouldn’t make my list either. My second reaction was that if there is anyone like Sean Avery or Chris Pronger or Shawn Horcoff on that list, I am going to bitch about it. So here I am.
After looking at the list, I would have to agree with about 98 of the players on it. The two players I don’t think should be on it are Eric Lindros and Chris Pronger. Before all you Philadelphia Flyers fans fly off the handle, let me explain. I am not saying that Lindros and Pronger were not great players. They definitely were. A lot of awards and accomplishments between them. What I am saying is that there is one player who, in my opinion, should have made the list before Lindros and Pronger. That player is Jarome Iginla.
Eric Lindros rubbed me, and a lot of other people wrong right from the start of his NHL career. I loved him as a Junior player winning the Gold for Team Canada in 1990 and 1991. Then in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, he lost about 50% of my respect when he shunned the Quebec Nordiques by not putting on the jersey of the team who drafted him, and furthermore refused to play for them. I personally would give almost anything to play for even the worst team in the NHL. I would even play for the league minimum, and here is this snot-nosed, arrogant kid who thinks the world is in his pocket. Turned out alright in the end for Lindros and the Nordiques, who became the Colorado Avalanche and went on to win a couple Stanley Cups.
To me, Jarome Iginla is just like Lindros, minus the arrogance. Iggy is one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. Always smiling and eager to get to the rink to get his work in. Iggy has done everything Lindros has done. Both have played for Team Canada at the International level. Iggy has five Gold Medals from those events, while Lindros has four Gold and a Silver. Both have played in six NHL All-Star games. Lindros has won two major NHL Awards, the Hart in 1995 and the Lester B. Pearson in 1995. Iginla has won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophy in 2002 and 2004, the Art Ross in 2002, the Lester B. Pearson in 2002 and the King Clancy in 2004. Lindros has the edge in points-per-game scoring 1.36 over Iggy’s 0.90, but Lindros also played on a line with John Leclair and Mikael Renberg, and later with Mark Recchi, who now that I think about it, could have made the list as well. Both have been in the top 10 NHL goal scorers four times. Lindros has been in the top 10 NHL point scorers three times, while Iggy has been in the top 10 four times.
In my mind, Iginla could have easily replaced Chris Pronger, if not Lindros. No doubt Pronger is an excellent defenseman. He’s won four Gold medals at the international level and he’s played in five All-Star games, but he’s only had one great season in 2000, in which he won the Hart and the Norris trophies. He also has a reputation of being a dirty player from more than one instance where he has thrown some questionable checks. To me there are just more deserving players that could have made the list.
So those are my views on the NHL’s 100 Greatest Players list.
We will be posting a piece in the next couple hours where you, the fans will vote on who you think are the 100 Greatest Flames Players so check back.