The road to Jarome Iginla’s personal milestones has been a road well travelled by the Calgary Flames’ captain.
His first NHL game was played on the road. His first regular-season goal and assist were scored on the road. His 1,000th game was played on the road and when he scored his 1,000th career point it was done – as you should know by now – on the road.
That means when Iginla scores the 500th goal of his career it will likely come outside Calgary’s Scotiabank Saddledome. Heading into Thursday night’s game against the visiting Detroit Red Wings, Iginla needed three goals to join the 500 club as its 42nd member. If unable to make good against a Detroit team that lost to the Vancouver Canucks the night before then the chances are all but certain Iginla will be celebrating on the road.
Following the Detroit encounter, the Flames will commence a seven-game road trip that begins Friday in Vancouver and carries on to Jan. 5 against the Boston Bruins. The Flames have had to vacate the ‘Dome for the 2012 world junior hockey tournament.
It was after a strong Tuesday effort against the Minnesota Wild that Iginla admitted he was keenly aware of how close he was to one of hockey’s magic numbers.
“It’s one of those things you try not to think about but you definitely do. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t,” he told reporters. “I’d like to (get it over with). At the same time, I’m trying to stay focused, win a few games and move up in the standings.”
In case there was any doubt, scoring 500 or more goals will secure Iginla’s place in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Most 500-goal men end up there and some are waiting to become eligible for entry.
Iginla's resume includes a string of international successes (a world junior, world and World Cup championship along with two Olympic gold medals) and the fact he is one of only 10 NHL players to have scored at least 30 goals in 10 consecutive seasons. Of that select group, which includes Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Hull and Mike Bossy, the only two players not in the Hall of Fame are Iginla and Jaromir Jagar, and both are still playing.