BOSTON -- There are only 2,372 names engraved on the Stanley Cup.
Each one is deserving of its place on hockey's holy chalice. Unfortunately, there are other players who are more than worthy to have their name etched in silver but fell short for one reason or another.
If there's one current NHLer who should have his name on the Cup, it's Jarome Iginla.
Sure, the Cup has eluded other elite veterans around the league, but no one deserves it more than Iginla. The current Boston Bruins forward has accomplished just about everything else in his career, reached lofty milestones and assumed a role as an ambassador for the game.
As a longtime member and captain of the Calgary Flames, Iginla and his teammates came agonizingly close to a Cup championship in 2004 but lost in seven games to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the finals. In his first season in Boston, Iginla has a real chance to finally win a championship, and his teammates are motivated to help him accomplish that goal.
"I'm not the only guy in the NHL who's played awhile and hasn't won," he said. "I feel fortunate to have an opportunity to be part of the playoffs again. It's a new start and it's always exciting because anything is possible and it could be this year. This is as good of a chance as I believe I've had, and it's a great group of guys."
Iginla is a close friend of former Bruin and three-time Stanley Cup champion Mark Recchi. In fact, the two are co-owners of their junior hockey team, the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League. When the Bruins won the Cup in 2011, Recchi decided to retire on top. After Iginla signed with the Bruins as a free agent last summer, he spoke with Recchi about what it's like to win in Boston.
Unlike Recchi, even if the Bruins win it all this season, Iginla hopes to stay in Boston and continue playing.
"I'd love to win with this group. I hope that we win this year and [I will] be a part of it, but I still want to play," he said. "I still want to play next year, regardless, but I'd love to win this year."
No one should blame Iginla for choosing the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Bruins last season. At the time of the trade deadline, Pittsburgh was the best team in the NHL and Iginla wanted to win a Cup. He deserves to win a Cup. Unfortunately for him and the Penguins, the Bruins used his snub as motivation and completely dominated Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference finals with a four-game sweep.
This time around, the Bruins are motivated to win the Cup with Iginla.
Bruins veteran Milan Lucic grew up with a poster of Iginla on his wall. Now that they're teammates and linemates, there's a respect around the Bruins locker room to win it for the future Hall of Famer.