Dropping Knowledge: Jarome Iginla’s Cold Start Should Cause Concern

The reason I've looked into this is because Ecozens at Stanley Cup of Chowder peaked my interest while writing an amazing post on titled "On Human (Sports) Nature, and The Process Of Letting Go". If for some reason you haven't read this post, you should. Ms. Ecozens touches on a fantastic point that the Boston media has seemingly forgot: 

Jarome Iginla is not a notoriously slow starter. 

You'll find that with Iginla's team leading 24 shots (the next forward, by the way, has 18), the Boston Media has started to preach the idea that Iginla is used to slow starts. I specifically want to mention Joe Haggerty's post from this morning, where he notes that Iginla is used to starts like these

He is?…

The good people over at Matchsticks and Gasoline, a blog I frequent due to my love for the Calgary Flames, begs to differ. In November 2011, they wrote about Iginla's slow start to the 2012 season and then detailed his first 15 games from 2001-2012: 

So throughout his career, Iginla has managed less than 10 points in the first 15 games three times. Let's take a look at how he started last season:

  Goals Assists Points
2012-2013 Season 1 9 10

So even through a down year in Calgary/Pittsburgh, Iginla still was able to come up with over 10 points in his first 15 games. Last season, Iginla only had 33 points, so one could make the argument that 1/3 of his points came in the first third of the season (48/3 = 16 games). Matchsticks and Gasoline argue that Iginla's drop off usually happens towards the end of the season, but last season that wasn't true. 

Now, the argument can be made that Iginla went from a cess pool hockey club to the best in the East and they'd be right. In Pittsburgh, Jarome scored 5 goals and had 6 assists to end the regular season and up until the Eastern Conference Finals was a monster in the playoffs (4 goals, 8 assists). 

So the thing is that Iginla usually does start the year off well, which causes me to worry that we're not seeing a struggle here, but a decline. If you look at Iginla's career, even recently, you'll see that he hasn't hit that "old man wall" that most players seem to run into (cough, cough, Jagr). 

Before I let you go, let's play projection for a moment. 

If we're to go by these numbers, after the first 15 games, Iginla's stat line will look like this: 

15 games, 0 goals, 8 assists and 51 shots. 

Do I think that'll happen? No, but if it does – I wouldn't

You can use whatever narrative you want, but look at the numbers. There's over a decade of Jarome Iginla "hot starts" with three cold ones sprinkled in. When a guy leads a team with 24 shots in the first 7 games and is unable to put one in the back of the net, there's something more than just a cold start forming. 

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