To give a goal of such historic magnitude it's due, we must start at the beginning. Not of hockey, or of Jarome Iginla, but of the actual game. The Flames had just finished out a disastrous road trip with a 9 - 0 loss suffered at the hands of the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins. The mood in the city was akin to that found inside a badgers den in the middle of winter: Angry, terse, and hungry for blood. Coaches blood. (Badgers eat coaches, right?)
The howling mob, however, was not fed any coach gristle. It was in fact not fed anything. No coaches were fired, the managers did not get canned, and only one player got traded. People were pissed off. And it was in this sour stupor that we all made our way down to the Saddledome, hissing at the team, but holding out hope that a redemptive moment would be authored by #12.
The opponents that day where the vaunted and much feared Minnesota Wild. This peculiar opponent was known for its penchant of winning games 1 - 0. In fact, and you can look this up if you don't believe us, but every single game the Wild have ever won has been won with a 1 - 0 score. These guys are stingy: The Wild banned condom use because they hate it when rubber gets into the slot. The Wild's goalie, Backstrom, was just coming off of his 15th consecutive shut out. Jarome has a tall task ahead of him if he was going to score 500 on this night.
Oh yeah, Jarome had the flu, too. And he had a case of the gout. Shingles. Can't forget he also had shingles. Plus his back was killing him. Also, Jarome's car had died that day, and he had to take the bus to work, but as he was getting on the bus, his dog ran out to wish him well but the bus driver didn't see it and smush. Jarome's baggage at this game included more than his skates and his stick.
The game started like all Wild V Flames match ups do: with a flurry of chances. Only the world famous defensively responsible play of Jarome Iginla kept the contest close. The score should have easily been 1 - 0 Wild. But when the bell rang and the period ended, it was in fact 0 - 0, even though the Wild had outshot the Flames 25 - 0. Jarome Iginla had 10 saves himself.
In the locker room during the intermission, coach Sutter excused himself from the room so that Brendan Morrison could conduct the coaching session properly. Morrison regaled the room with tales of Markus Naslund, how Naslund didn't have even 400 goals, and what exact type of pussy that made him (a saggy one, for those wondering). Morrison then looked Iginla in the eyes. Do you want to be remembered as a saggy pussy, Elvis?
The second period started innocuous enough: The Wild consistently generated three on one scoring chances, only to have a racing Jarome Iginla swoop in and break the play up at the last moment. It was vintage Iginla, really. About halfway through the second period, somehow, someway, a Flames player not named Jarome Iginla managed to get his stick on the puck, and was able to sneak a seam pass up the ice. Jarome got the puck, and fired it away at the Wild's net, only to be met with a clank.
Jarome Iginla's arch nemesis, The Post, had heard about the impending milestone and, unknowable to Iginla, had made an appearance at the Dome. Jarome quickly went to the referee to complain about the use of a player that was not on the roster of the Wild.
"It's actually not even a regulation sized net, either," the crowd picked up the referee saying. "It's one of those small ones, that kids play on."
The referee called in to Gary Bettman's office to see whether any rules had been broken, but as Gary Bettman wrote the rules to be opaque, he had to tell the referee that he had no clue whether or not any rules had been broken. "Game On!" proclaimed the referee.
The second period would end not with a whimper, but with a clank.
Inside the Flames locker room, the mood was despondent. The crowd had began to boo them; Coach Sutter was desperately trying to make adaptions to his game plan of 'get lead, sit on lead, blow lead.'; Matt Stajan had a locker room stall. This were looking bleak. That is, until Jarome Iginla stood up.
"I don't care if Roy is in net, I don't care if they have Orr and Robinson are out there on the blueline. I don't care if they go insane and put Scott Stevens out at centre just so he can crank people. I don't care. We are going to win this game. Get on my back, boys."
As Jarome delivered his rah rah speech, lightning hit the Saddledome.
The third period began very much like the first two. Jarome was unable to score as he was hemmed in his own zone for most of the period. But then, something peculiar happened. Just as Jarome was swooping in to break up yet another Wild three on one, another strike of lighting hit the Dome, causing the lights of the place to shut off for a brief moment. When the lights returned, they showcased a nightmare.
Jarome Iginla looked up the ice from nearly 200 feet away. Tending goal for the Wild was St. Roy. The Wild blueline had an Orr and a Robinson on it. Scott Stevens was out playing centre, but it looked like he was only out there so he could smash and destroy whoever came through the neutral zone.
Jarome looked at his bench, and saw nobody there. He looked to his left, and to his right, and again, nobody was there. The moment was setting up to be too big for his teammates, and they had left. It was just Jarome out on the ice. Well, him and Kipper. Kipper winked at Iginla, and sent him streaking down the ice with these words: Fuck em up, champ.
What came next was pure magic. Jarome took the puck up the right side of the ice, deftly avoiding a Wild winger who had also transformed into a nameless Hall of Famer as well. Probably Sakic. Upon entering the neutral zone, the Jumbotron exploded, showering sparks down on the players below, but specifically Jarome. The hot sparks, seemingly commanded by the hockey gods, attempted to lodge themselves into Jarome's eyes. "That's why I wear a visor," Jarome smirked to himself, "for situations just like this."
The neutral zone seemed to be an entirely different world. The lone remaining Wild winger had disappeared, and the ice resembled a Wild West town at high noon. And Scott Stevens stood in the middle of the street. It seemed to be the end of the road for Jarome's rush. Certainly all those in attendance thought so. But Jarome didn't get to be a 499 goal scorer because of luck. He had moves, after all, and he decided to drop one on Stevens. Just as Stevens approached from the side to deliver a devastating blow to the head, Jarome Iginla dropped a Liu Kang bicycle kick on him. IT. WAS. EPIC. And it also got him through the neutral zone.
The hockey gods were not pleased. No sooner had he crossed the blueline than did the fireball machines start belching flames at his direction. The ice behind Jarome melted, ensuring there wouldn't even be the option of retreat. In front of him stood St. Roy, Robinson, and Orr. Fireballs where launching at his back, and sparks where showering down all around him. But he persevered.
Robinson came first, attempting to drop a spinning elbow on Jarome as he entered the zone. Iginla, who once played on a team with the noted criminal Todd Bertuzzi and hence knew a thing or two about completely illegal hits, saw Robinson coming. Jarome simply dropped a spin move of his own (counter clockwise) and sent a flying Robinson into the fire strewn landscape. It was just #12, Orr, and Roy now. And #12 liked his chances.
As Orr raced to confront Jarome at the top of the right face off circle, Jarome lifted his stick in preparation of his shot, but then he hesitated. Would this shot go in? Should he try to make a move and get it in deeper? Just then, the ethereal specter of Harvey The Hound appeared over his shoulder. Shoot the puck, Jarome.
And that is exactly what Jarome did. Slamming his stick down with such force that it shattered instantly, the puck leaped off the ice at what must have been 400 KM/H. Jarome had aimed for the short side top corner, one of the hardest shots to make in hockey, but especially when one has to beat the glove hand of a saint. But the puck was shot with such velocity that when Roy brought his glove up it incinerated. The puck hit the corner with such force that it also ignited the mesh, and melted the goal posts. The puck had so much force that it went through the boards. It even tore through the protective netting that kept the crowd safe before landing harmlessly in Harvey the Hounds paw. Harvey and Jarome exchanged a knowing wink.
And the crowd? Well, the crowd went seven first names crazy.
Don't believe us? Take a look for yourself:
Furthermore, I think