SPORTS TALK: Next stop for Jarome Iginla: Hockey Hall of Fame

by James McCarthy- August 3, 2018

Nice to see we have discourse such as this in our lives.

Someone by the name of Charlie Kirk made a point on Twitter about how Melania Trump operates the first lady’s office with a much smaller staff than Michelle Obama did. Apparently, Mrs. Trump has a staff of five compared to Mrs. Obama, who reportedly had a staff of 44. That’s neither here nor there because that doesn’t bother me. I’m not an American.

But what does bother me is people like Mark Roberts, an “independent conservative,” who took the opportunity to reply to Kirk’s tweet with the mention that Mrs. Trump works by the hour with a hashtag that I can’t publish. This guy is running for office in Oregon’s Second Congressional District. It’s so nice to see there’s a real choice for voters there. For some added fun, check out the ratio this guy got for that tweet.

On to more honourable things:

 

First ballot or bust

I’ve never really enjoyed watching many individual professional athletes. I prefer enjoying the games for the games.

Jarome Iginla, though, was different. He was one of those precious few that I always liked watching simply because he was a difference-maker like Wayne Gretzky, who I consider the greatest ever (apologies to Bobby Orr fans).

Iginla was the best of a bad bunch with the Calgary Flames for many seasons and was the only reason anyone bothered to watch the team during their struggles with the notable exception of that amazing Stanley Cup run in 2004. I still say Calgary was the better team in that series but someone is going to call me out on that because if they were the better team, James, they would have won. Yes, I know.

Iginla called it a career on July 30 after 20 seasons in the National Hockey League and it was only fitting that he did it in Calgary, his home for 16 of those 20 campaigns. Where else would he have done it? The ceremony at the Saddledome only happened because the Flames insisted upon it; he was quite happy to release a statement saying he was finished.

Beyond his NHL exploits, which unfortunately didn’t include a Stanley Cup, he was a key cog in the Canadian men’s hockey team that won gold at the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympics and the 1997 and 2004 world championships.

He could look after himself just fine as well. Recall that fight with Brendan Shanahan, another one of my all-time favourites, that one evening where, even though it looked like Iginla had gone 12 rounds with the wrong guy, he got the better of Shanahan. Even Shanahan said Iginla won the fight and when you get that vote of confidence, one power forward to another, you’ve arrived.

Craig Conway, Iginla’s former teammate, probably said it best when he talked about how Iginla was able to elevate his game when the team needed it the most. That’s what great players do and Iginla is one of the greatest. We’ll be talking about him again when the Hockey Hall of Fame calls him in three years time.

 

Cleats. They hurt.

Take it from me – when you get stepped on by a pair of metal cleats, you know about it. Nothing like getting your feet stepped on as a catcher.

But I never got cleats in the face so I can’t tell you I know what Jurickson Profar of the Texas Rangers went through against the Houston Astros on July 29. It was one of those scary moments – and completely accidental, by the way – when Yuli Gurriel of the Astros stumbled backward to avoid Profar, who was sliding into second base. Gurriel’s right boot whacked Profar on the side of the head, coming dangerously close to his left eye.

Nothing the trainers couldn’t handle, though, as Profar got a wee bandage to patch up the issue and he returned. He did the post-game interviews looking a bit worse for wear but all in all, he’s a trooper. Now, had that been Neymar that took the cleat to the face … hoo boy!

 

And finally …

Good Idea: The Toronto Blue Jays offloading Roberto Osuna.

Bad Idea: The Houston Astros accepting Roberto Osuna in return.

So the Toronto Blue Jays have mailed it in for 2018 as the fire sale has begun.

J.A. Happ is now a New York Yankee and you can bet Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki – if and when they ever get healthy – will be right behind him. The one name no one missed was Roberto Osuna, who went to the Houston Astros in a deal that saw three minor-league pitchers come back. Osuna is about to complete a 75-game suspension for allegedly assaulting a woman back in May and all eyes are going to be on him.

But why would Houston make that deal? First off, the team has a zero-tolerance policy for anyone who abuses anything. Jeff Luhnow, Houston’s general manager, said he’s confident that Osuna is remorseful. Maybe, but that’s going to be one interesting locker room. Houston is already a good team and Osuna may make them better but is it worth it, knowing the baggage that came with him?

Most people I know, including myself, don’t really take too kindly to domestic violence. Takes real guts to strike your partner because they wouldn’t listen, right? If Osuna is found guilty, you can bet his employment opportunities will lessen to the point that no one will want to take a chance on him. Locker rooms are fantastic courtrooms and they do a better job of handing out judgment than most public courthouses.

Until next time, folks …

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