CALGARY - One day after being awarded a golden stick, Jarome Iginla was unjustly awarded a golden raspberry of sorts.
As part of a Sports Illustrated player poll that found Dion Phaneuf the NHLís most overrated player, the Flames captain somehow found himself 12th on the list.
Apparently, concussions are a much bigger problem than we thought for todayís players.
How else to explain how one of the eraís greatest leaders and most prolific goal scorers lands on a list that includes flops like Scott Gomez and Mike Komisarek?
One of only 42 players in NHL lore to score 500 goals, Iginla is one of only 10 in the gameís history to have 10 consecutive 30 or more goal seasons.
Yet, somehow, the 34-year-old model of consistency finds himself on this dubious list for the very first time.
Is it professional jealousy or just plain stupidity?
While he got off to a slow start (which could partially explain the results) Iginla currently resides on one of the leagueís top scoring lines, and last yearís sixth highest scorer is inching his way up the scoring charts once again at No. 30.
Itís unlikely Iginla takes any solace from the fact there are three other Calgary connections in the top 15 as decided by 161 current players.
Calgary product Dany Heatley is fifth on the list, Flames defenceman Jay Bouwmeester is eighth and Olli Jokinen is 14th.
Bouwmeesterís contract and inability to chip in offensively earned him his spot, but Jokinenís place on the list is a couple years too late. Few in Calgary expected much from Jokinen, and are now pleasantly surprised heís meshed with Iginla on the top line and has been the teamís most consistent skater all season. Heís just one point behind Iginla.
It should be noted that fifth-place player Heatley garnered 4% of the vote, meaning seven of the 161 lads polled voted for the Wild winger.
Percentages werenít given for any of the other top 15 players, meaning at No. 12, Iginla likely received just two or three votes, which represents about half the number of players he beat up last year, if you know where Iím going with that. Sour grapes, perhaps? A score to settle?
Every player in pro sports is inextricably pegged to his salary, but given all Iginla brings to the team, the city and the organization, few can argue heís worthy of $7 million annually.
Not coincidentally, more than half the players on the list play in Canada, where players get endless media attention and, thus, increased pressure to perform.
All of them make big money, making them easier targets.
Phaneuf, who garnered a whopping 20% of the vote (Ovechkin was second at 8%), has had a bounce back season that have some in Toronto figuring heís a Norris Trophy candidate again.
Talk like that will certainly set a guy up for this type of poll.
Itís always tough to get into an athleteís head, but perhaps Iginlaís lack of playoff success outside of 2004 has something to do with it. Or maybe it has to do with the fact heís no longer a power forward, choosing instead to play a less-physical game.
Whatís most shocking about this is that making a list of this sort reeks of disrespect, which isnít something Iginla is generally afforded. Or deserves.
An honest player who has iconic status in Calgary, Iginla belongs on lists celebrating the gameís classiest players or greatest ambassadors.
Hereís to Iginla finding out who voted for him and exacting a little payback along the way, as the physical specimen still has at least a handful of good years left.