Having seven of its 30 teams located in Canada gives the NHL a unique international flavor, even if the land of the maple leaf isn’t all that different from most spots in the northern United States.
However, as any border-crossing traveler knows, there are some governmental hurdles to jump when moving from one country to another. The procedure gets even more complicated when it comes to employment, which brings us to new Penguins acquisition Jarome Iginla.
Iginla, a Canadian citizen who has played his entire 16-year NHL career for the Calgary Flames, has to apply for a work visa in order to lace up the skates for the Penguins. According to Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that process may prevent Iginla from making his stateside debut on Saturday afternoon when the Pens host the New York Islanders.
A 525-goal scorer who figures to slot into one of the Penguins’ top two forward lines, Iginla was brought into the fold via a trade early Thursday. Iginla delivered a farewell press conference in Calgary hours before the Pittsburgh downed Winnipeg 4-0 to stretch their winning streak to 14 games.
The Penguins can tie for the second-longest run of victories in NHL history if they top New York on Saturday. The 1982-83 Islanders won 15 straight, a total surpassed by only the 1992-93 Penguins, who reached 17 to set the all-time mark.
If Iginla is unable to navigate the necessary red tape in time for Saturday, he should be able to dress on Tuesday night when the Penguins host Buffalo. Pittsburgh travels to New York the following night to battle the Rangers, when they could tie the franchise and league record if all goes according to plan.
Even if the streak ends before then, the Penguins would love to get Iginla on the ice as soon as possible. Pittsburgh has 13 regular-season games remaining before the Stanley Cup playoffs begin, most likely with the Penguins as the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed.