The Jarome Iginla Switcheroo, From Peter Chiarelli’s Perch
Sometimes, it’s actually worth it to be a night owl. While many other hockey fans of all stripes were fast asleep, I was still up, talking about the fact that Jarome Iginla was now part of the Boston Bruins and hashing out feelings about and reactions to it. In fact, I even wrote a piece about it, but then less than an hour after I published, the plot thickened and it was made official that the Pittsburgh Penguins, not the Bruins, had nabbed Iggy. (I then deleted the reaction article, with permission from my editor to do so, because it was all predicated on something that didn’t happen and no longer made sense.)
Being that I had felt ambivalent bordering on underwhelmed about the idea of a trade for Iginla in the first place, I took this as good news and greeted it with some sense of relief. From what I’ve heard of Alexander Khokhlachev, for example, he could become an important part of the organization in the future. Two consecutive seasons of more than 60 points in the OHL isn’t anything to sneeze at, though he did struggle during a KHL tenure while the NHL was locked out. Of course, so did the entire team he played for at the time.
However, in the light of day, it sounds like Calgary Flames general manager Jay Feaster did Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli (pictured with the Prince of Wales Trophy during the Stanley Cup parade) somewhat wrong on this whole thing. Chiarelli took the opportunity to explain things from his perch to Bruins fans, even though he usually doesn’t do that before the trade deadline–which is April 3, by the way.
Chiarelli has known Feaster for about two decades and has nothing but good things to say about him. Let’s get that out there before we begin. Now that that’s been said, at noon yesterday, Chiarelli believed that he had a deal. Torey Krug was brought up and Khokhlachev and Matt Bartkowski were scratched, one from Boston and one from Providence, under the assumption that the two of them would be heading off as the other half of the deal.
But then after the Bruins lost, after the 11 p.m. news had already signed off, he got a call from Feaster saying that Iginla had chosen Pittsburgh instead. He was barred from speaking directly to Iginla during this time, too.
Chiarelli’s letting this roll off his back–pointing out that trades fall through quite a lot, but this one was obviously more visible due to who was on the block–and focusing instead on improving the team. He did admit to initially feeling like he had been hoodwinked by Feaster, though, which is also reasonable.
Some have construed the Bruins losing out on Iginla and Brenden Morrow as somehow being the worst thing that could happen. Yes, the Bruins have some needs and some holes that could potentially be filled via a trade, but to me, neither Iginla nor Morrow were the answers.
Besides, Chiarelli is a shrewd, smart general manager. He’s committed to the team and will do what he feels is best. Who knows? Maybe right now he’s working the phones and putting together a trade that will stun the hockey world–and do the Bruins right, too.