Break coming at wrong time for Iginla

Break coming at wrong time for Iginla
February 6, 2014, 12:15 am
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(USA Today Sports Images)

WILMINGTON -- Jarome Iginla should probably be disappointed that the NHL season is going on hiatus for the Winter Olympics.

In the past, the 36-year-old would have been preparing for international hockey with Team Canada. Iginla won’t be headed to Sochi for the Olympic tournament this time around, but the Bruins right winger is still ramping up his game at the most important time of year.

Iginla notched his 600th career assist in the Bruins victory over the Canucks on Tuesday night and has three goals, a plus-9 and 11 points in his past six games while helping to carry his team through the final games prior to the break.

“It just kind of exemplifies the type of career that he’s had, and that he’s still having,” said coach Claude Julien. “He’s been a great player in this league for a long time, so you always like to see those kinds of goals being accomplished. And in my mind, he’s got lots more left.”

He’s on a pace for 25 goals and 60 points for the Bruins and has been exactly what they were looking for, albeit in a bit of a streaky pattern. In pretty much every way Iginla is a much better fit with the Bruins playing alongside David Krejci and Milan Lucic as a featured performer than he was playing on the left side with the Pittsburgh Penguins in a third-line role. He's throwing his weight around for a heavy, hard hockey team, rather than trying to fit in on a finesse team focused on skill over strength.

At this point, Iginla is just happy contributing to a team that’s leading its division, is second in the conference, and is poised toward a long, healthy run through the playoffs once the Olympic break is over.

“I’m just thankful to keep playing as long as I have and I’m having a great time,” said Iginla. “It’s awesome to be here with these guys.”

Now Iginla will be looking to finish strong in the final two games prior to the Olympic break, then continue on his current tear while trying not losing the edge from his game as he takes a couple of weeks away the game. That will be trick now that the Olympic portion of Iginla’s career has come to a close.