In his first game with Boston, Jarome Iginla endeared himself to the TD Garden faithful with a spirited scrap against Tampa Bay’s Radko Gudas.
Following the tilt, Iginla said it was all part of embracing his team’s style.
“It’s definitely part of Bruins hockey, playing against them over the years and watching them,” Iginla told the Boston Globe. “It’s a very competitive, aggressive team.
“Trying to play alongside of that and contribute in those areas. Try to play physical, try to go [to] the net. Sometimes fights happen. It happened to be in the first game. Every guy takes a lot of pride in competing hard. Fights do happen. Guys are ready for that, too.”
While Iginla doesn’t fight very often — he has just nine over the last four seasons, according to HockeyFights.com — his scraps often have a flair for the dramatic.
After receiving a lukewarm introduction in his Bruins debut, he won over the B’s fans with the Gudas tilt.
Last year, he infamously fought Nathan Horton in his first game in Boston as a Penguin, just weeks after spurning a trade deadline deal to the Bruins.
Iginals’ most famous fight, though, might’ve come during the 2004 Stanley Cup Final, when he (as captain of the Flames) took on Tampa Bay’s Vincent Lecavalier:
More on that incident, from the Canadian Press:
There can be no disputing the positive results that have followed such an encounter this post-season, a trend that should prove alarming to Tampa Bay.
Iginla fought Vancouver defenceman Mattias Ohlund in game three of the opening series. Calgary went on to win three of the next four games to eliminate the Canucks.
In game two of the next series, Iginla squared off with big Detroit defenceman Derian Hatcher. Again, the Flames went on to take three of the next four games and knock off the Red Wings.
“That’s why he’s our leader,” said Calgary forward Chris Clark. “If he’s going to go out and fight, be rough, and he’s the best player in the league, you know people are going to follow him.”
Chris Simon, one of the NHL’s primary enforcers, was moved onto the top Flames top line Saturday with Conroy and Iginla, but he knows that Iginla likes to fight his own battles.
“That fight was huge, it really set the tone physically for us and we talked before the game that we had to bring a physical presence,” Simon said.
As for fighting in general, Iginla said that while he wouldn’t mind seeing less of it, he’s not prepared to ban it outright.
“Part of it is it’s been a part of our sport for so long,” he explained. “So, I think in my opinion I don’t mind seeing less of it, [but] like I said, I don’t think I’m there where I’d like to see it all gone.”