Iginla, Kiprusoff and Hagman all win medals at the Vancouver Olympics
Sporting a white Team Canada hat, Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla greeted local media Tuesday at the Pengrowth Saddledome with an Olympic-sized smile.
The first question?
"Have you talked to Darryl Sutter about bringing Sidney Crosby to Calgary?"
"I don't know what to say," said Iginla, laughing out loud. "I don't think it is going to happen"
Of course, it was Iginla and Pittsburgh captain Crosby who worked the give-and-go off the low wall Sunday that resulted in Crosby scoring the overtime winner in a 3-2 gold medal victory over the United States.
Iginla had been knocked down on the quick-developing play and was regaining his feet as Crosby snapped the winner through the legs of goalie Ryan Miller.
"Sid beat his guy off the wall and was yelling for it. I just slid it to him. I was pretty pumped. I had fallen down. I didn't see it go in or anything. But the crowd and him jumping around. It was pretty exciting. It was one of the better feelings," said Iginla, who put a second gold medal in his collection after winning with Team Canada in 2002 in Salt Lake City, also against the Americans.
"It was a lot of fun. It was very memorable. It was tough. The games were all very intense. The last four were all like Game 7's. It was the best hockey moment I have ever had when I (knew) we had done it. The fans were awesome. The whole city was great. The whole Olympics. Setting a record for Canada. I'm proud of the whole Olympic team. Proud to be Canadian. It was awesome."
Canadian hockey fans were on the edge of their seats, nervously biting their nails as the clock wound down. But with under 30 seconds remaining, Zach Parise tied the game. Rest assured the players were just as nervous.
"It was a low time there when we gave one up with 30 seconds left. You are trying not to count down on the clock but you are thinking there are five minutes left. You want to keep going. You are either attacking or defending. They were coming hard. We still had chances in the third period. We hit a couple of posts. Sid (Crosby) was close on that breakaway that could have iced it. They hung around and got that late one...It was hard to see that one go in. But, at the same time you go in (t the dressing room and you re-group. It was more fun in the end to win in overtime."
While the colour, gold, is the same as it was in 2002, this win might be just a little more special because it came in overtime.
"Not winning in 50 years, that was a big one to win," said Iginla.
"But to end in overtime. to win in overtime is pretty exciting. In 2002 it was close until the end but we were up 5-2. Which we will take. To win in OT, those are what you dream of when you are young. Jumping off the bench and throwing your sticks. It was pretty wild."
A memorable tournament on home soil. It doesn't get much better.
"We all really enjoyed it. There was a lot of excitement and a lot of passion, too," said Iginla.
Two other Olympians also returned to the Flames dressing room Tuesday -- Finnish stars Miikka Kiprusoff and Niklas Hagman. After losing badly to the Americans in the semi-final, the Finns rebounded to win the bronze medal in a hard-fought game against the surprising Slovaks.
"For us it was a bit of a roller coaster. We played well and then didn't play so well. But, at the end of the day, winning the bronze medal, it was really good and we are happy that we managed to win the last game," said Hagman.
In the early afterglow of this Olympic tournament, many are expressing interest in having the NHL players participate in Russia in 2014. The NHL hasn't officially committed to playing in those Games.
"If I could choose, I would definitely want to play," said Hagman. "You could see, obviously, when Canada won, I am sure everyone in Canada would like to see it again. It is other people that decide it, but if I could I would love to play. It's an honour to represent your country and it's really fun tournament."
None of the players had their medals with them at the rink on Tuesday.
"I think my daughter took it to school. Kindergarten. My wife is responsible for it today," laughed Iginla.