If the Boston Bruins were to have defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in a back-and-forth seven-game series, it certainly would’ve left plenty surprised. However, the Bruins didn’t just defeat the Penguins — they swept them clean out of the postseason.
Needless to say, the hockey world was in shock.
As Boston prepares for their Stanley Cup Finals date with the Chicago Blackhawks, its hard not to think of one of this past series’ biggest subplots.
With the NHL trade deadline nearing, Jarome Iginla was officially traded to the Bruins. However, he utilized his no-movement clause, vetoed the trade and asked to be moved to Pittsburgh instead.
Boston’s fan base was left confused and upset, and GM Peter Chiarelli needed to hold a press conference to help put everything into perspective. One of the media members asked if Iginla’s move to Pittsburgh now made them favorites for the Cup.
His response: “Oh they’re a lock, right?” It was an answer ripe with snark, and something every Bruins fan was thinking to themselves as Boston continually built up their Eastern Conference Finals lead until the KO punch Friday night.
And so it was, Iginla picked Pittsburgh over the Bruins because they gave him the best chance to finally win a Stanley Cup. Now, the closest he’ll get to a Cup in Pittsburgh is by hosting a viewing party this Wednesday.
So, as the Penguins made their way through the handshake line after the sweep had been completed, as a packed TD Garden rang loud with the cheers of the Boston faithful, one can’t help but assume Iginla was thinking about the day he decided the Bruins weren’t good enough.
Would he have been heading to Chicago in a couple of days like the Bruins are now? Would Iginla have fit in on the Boston roster, helping them right the ship and roll through the postseason?
Obviously, nobody can predict that. It certainly wouldn’t have been a surprise, as his playing style seemed like it would fit in well for the Bruins. He’s offensively skilled, but can hold his own on defense with a ton of grit and power.
However, would the Bruins have been able to withstand the injuries they dealt with early in the postseason?
As you’ll recall, rookie Matt Bartkowski was a piece of the Iginla deal and would’ve been sent to the Calgary Flames. When three of Boston’s veteran defensemen were forced out in the first two rounds of the playoffs, Bartkowski played crucial minutes for the Bruins and helped ensure there were no setbacks. Without him, would Boston have been able to stay afloat while their vets healed?
Its all speculation at this point, and its highly doubtful anyone in Beantown really cares. Their team is four wins away from a Stanley Cup.
The final piece of this story came in backbreaking fashion. As Bruins blueliner Adam McQuaid blasted a one-timer midway through the third period of Game 4, Iginla dove to try and block the shot. The puck deflected off his stick and found a home in the back of the net. 1-0 Bruins.
The score remained the same until the final buzzer. Sure enough, Iginla did indeed contribute to the goal that sent Boston to the final round.
He’ll have all summer to wonder if he would’ve rather done that while wearing a Bruins jersey.