By Connor Donovon
As all Bruins fans know, future NHL Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla is now a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. For almost an hour and a half, however, the city of Boston thought he was the newest member of the Boston Bruins.
At 12:18 a.m. on March 28, Aaron Ward of TSN Sports News & Headlines broke the news on Twitter by stating, “Iginla traded to the Bruins #TSN”.
Naturally the city of Boston erupted in excitement, as this confirmed the news they had hoped to get after a stomach-aching shootout loss to their bitter rivals, the Montreal Canadiens.
As a lifelong Iginla fan, I threw on my Calgary Flames Jarome Iginla jersey and cracked a beer in celebration. I couldn’t believe that my all-time favorite player was leaving Calgary after playing there for 15 years to come and try and to win a Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins.
The Bruins were now sure to be Stanley Cup favorites in the East. Since they were already one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, adding a future Hall of Famer and 500+ goal scorer seemed sure to make them unstoppable.
Talking to my roommate, Pat Cameron, later on that night, we were both far too thrilled to even think about sleep. “How can anyone not love Iginla? He’s a class act and one of the best captains ever,” we told each other. “He’s a fighter, a scorer, a leader, and a team player – a great hockey player in every aspect of the sport and a perfect fit for the Bruins style of hockey.”
However as the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. In possibly the most drastic change of events in an NHL trade in decades, at 1:31 a.m. Bob McKenzie announced, “Jarome Iginla traded to PIT for PIT’s 1st rounder in 2013 and college prospects Kenneth Agostino and Ben Hanowski”.
Boston fans went to sleep thinking they had acquired Jarome Iginla, only to wake up to a real-life nightmare.
Devastated, shocked, confused, angry: all words that Bruins fans used to describe the situation, as they should. It is still not clear what occurred or how this trade happened, but one thing is certain, Bruins fans are not happy with Jarome Iginla.
Many believe that Iginla never had any intention of coming to play in Boston and that he used Boston to get a stronger deal from Pittsburgh. It is a strong possibility that this is what happened because of Iginla’s no-trade clause with Calgary.
As reported by Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli, “We were told around noon yesterday that we had the player (Iginla), we won the sweepstakes so to speak. Flames GM Jay Feaster just had to talk to Jarome and his agent regarding the logistics of everything. So from that point on there had been some discussions regarding Jarome taking some time, not to decide, just to let things soak in.”
“Later that night, around a quarter to 12, I got a call from Jay saying it was the player’s choice and he opted to go to Pittsburgh,” Chiarelli said. “So we were out.”
As you can expect from a sports-fueled city like Boston this left fans outraged, baffled, and most of all upset.
“I haven’t felt this pain since the first time we lost to the Giants in the Super Bowl,” says Phil Lema, a lifelong hockey player and Bruins fan. “The only difference is at least then I knew we had lost. I went to bed thinking we had just picked up one of the best players in the league and when I woke up he was already gone.”
With the Penguins and the Bruins meeting up in Boston on Friday, April 19, you can bet this will be a hockey game that will go down in the books. The Penguins, now the heavy favorite to win the Stanley Cup, playing a very physical, angry Boston squad, will prove to be a hard-hitting preview of two teams that may meet up in the Eastern Conference finals. You will not want to miss this game, as Iginla is sure to be booed by the Boston faithful every time he touches the puck.