His immigration issues resolved, Jarome Iginla arrived in Pittsburgh late Friday night to officially join his new team. The expectations were that he’d debut with the Penguins on Tuesday, after some time to ease his adjustment.
Instead, Iginla wanted to dive into his first game on Saturday afternoon, without a practice as a Penguin.
“The closest thing to it is like my first game. Literally all the way back to when I was 18, and you’re trying to stay calm,” he said after the Pens blanked the New York Islanders, 2-0, to win their 14th straight game . “I had an afternoon game that game too.”
Iginla skated 17:30 in his debut and was a plus-1, taking three shots and missing on another. He had two hits.
“In the first, you’re trying to adjust and be good,” he said.
“Once you get on the ice, it gets more normal. But it was about halfway through until it felt normal.”
Here’s Iginla on his debut:
He skated with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal in his debut. Said Neal, via the Penguins:
“You can’t say enough about him,” Neal said. “He was a guy I watched when I was growing up and now I’m sitting beside him in the locker room and playing with him. So talking to him a lot out there, he’s going to get used to our systems and he’s going to be a huge help to us.”It was the first time Iginla had appeared in an NHL sweater that didn’t belong to the Calgary Flames.
“It was different. It was exciting. It was hard to calm the excitement and the nerves," he said.