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Flames kept Iginla too long

The years were many for Jarome Iginla of the Calgary Flames, too many to be truthful. But they ended recently with his being traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Now, I know that hindsight is 20-20 vision.

The years were many for Jarome Iginla of the Calgary Flames, too many to be truthful. But they ended recently with his being traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Now, I know that hindsight is 20-20 vision. But it was back in my days of writing a column for the Calgary Sun, which was at least six years ago, that I suggested that a still relatively-youthful Iginla might be worth trading for a valuable return. Today, one has to wonder, where the Flames might be had they taken that advice and given the most popular Flame in history a chance at winning a Stanley Cup.

At that time he would have been worth at least two starters and probably two or three draft picks. Had it been done then, this Flames club that is stumbling its way to a fourth-straight season without a playoff berth might just have secured a spot or two in post-season play the past couple of years.

Making the trade now, after almost two decades in the uniform, makes it nice for “Iggy” because he does have a chance at sipping from Lord Stanley’s mug. But where does that put the Flames?

Sure they have a first-round pick in the upcoming National Hockey League entry draft, which is apparently loaded with talent. But the rest of the trade is for down-the-line stuff.

Getting a couple of kids from the American university ranks is nowhere near the return they would have received had they made the deal years ago, instead of hanging on because he was such a local hero.

Hockey is a business. And in business there is no room for thinking with the heart rather than the brain, a problem I have when making the occasional wager with buddies.

The Flames got what they could from the Pittsburgh operation and I sincerely hope “Iggy” matches what Ray Bourque did when Boston traded him to Colorado with one thought in mind, getting him that elusive Stanley Cup title. That was a plan that worked and this one could go that route also. But that Eastern Conference fight is going to be a ding-a-ling-dong-dandy as the late Ed Whalen would say on Stampede Wrestling.

Goodbye, Jerome. And good luck.

Finally an athlete with a conscience, at least the first that I can remember. And I’ve been around a long, long time.

After a most successful career with the St. Louis Cardinals, Albert Pujols was enticed into signing with the Los Angeles Angels for a modest $240 million over 10 seasons.

The Angels actually won a battle with St. Louis and Miami for his services but were not paid off in a big-time way in year number one because Pujols did not come close to the numbers in his first year manning first base. And, while the baseball season is just really swinging into high gear, his numbers are not like they used to be. So the man with a conscience declared publicly that if he doesn’t get into a groove like in his Cardinal years, he would quit the game and give back the money. Or at least, call an end to the contract.

Today’s athletes don’t do that on a regular basis, I can tell you.

And, while talking about baseball, a lot of Toronto Blue Jays fans were a mite choked with the start of former Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, who was signed with great publicity during the off-season. His first two starts were horrendous, to say the least. But never fear.

Apparently he had a similar start while with the New York Mets last season but still ended up with a career-high 33 starts, not to mention posting 20 wins. So let’s cut the knuckleballer some slack because it is early and the season is lengthy.

Having been in the media as long as I have, I am quick to criticize when I see something has been overlooked when it should not have been. And, while this might not seem like a big deal to most, the fact is that most media outlets simply refused to recognize the accomplishment of our Davis Cup tennis team.

I know tennis is not what you might call a mainstream sport. But for a Canadian unit to make the Davis Cup semifinal is about the same as the aforementioned Blue Jays winning the World Series. Well, maybe not that big, but it is huge if only because it never happened before.

Today’s joke I may have used before but it’s a goodie. The married couple is driving in the country and obviously having an argument, as there is no conversation at all between the two. Coming around the corner of a highway they see a herd of donkeys in the field ahead. The husband says, “Relatives of yours?” She calmly replies, “Yes, they are in-laws.”