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Chiarelli: “We Believed We Had a Deal” for Jarome Iginla

uspw_5187404As most of you already know, Jarome Iginla has been traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was initially thought that he was traded to the Boston Bruins, something most sports sources of repute reported as a done deal. I was among them and the firestorm that followed, including the twist that Iggy was actually a Penguin, rivalled the fallout from the most explosive topics I’ve ever written about here.

So what happened? Why did reports initially suggest that Iginla had been traded to the Bruins? How did so many sources, insiders and publications get one of the biggest trades over the last while so wrong?

Count Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli among those who thought the former Flame was set to be arriving in Boston. “We believed we had a deal,” he said.

Apparently the Bruins thought that Iginla was their guy, believing that they had things sealed off at about noon on Wednesday. They kept a lid on it for a few hours, even as some reports began to trickle out that something was happening. Astute observers paired up the healthy scratches in Calgary with the healthy scratches in the Boston system and connected the dots.

Boston beat reporters, including one I personally cited in a comment I left on the HockeyDraft.ca Facebook wall, began to produce the story and several hockey writers even penned the posts required while sitting on official word from a reputable source. The deal was done on the Boston end, but, as I noted in the comment, there were apparently still some things in Calgary to take care of.

It turns out that “those things in Calgary” that needed taking care of actually involved, you know, talking to Jarome Iginla about the team he wanted to go to. Because he had to waive his no-trade clause to pave the way for the deal, he had a say in the matter. From the teams that made offers, including the Bruins and the Penguins, he could make his pick.

His pick was the Penguins, as we all now know.

It was then up to Calgary GM Jay Feaster to call the Bruins, who thought they had Iggy in the tank, with the bad news. “We were informed around noon that we had the player,” said Chiarelli. The word was that the Flames organization just had to talk to Iginla about some things first, not that the franchise player was still deciding, but “to kind of let things soak in.”

That soaking in process apparently swung things toward the Penguins.

“I knew Pittsburgh was in the mix with Boston and they’re both amazing cities, very successful organizations and great teams,” said Iginla. “When it comes down to the choice that I had, one or the other, it’s really hard as a player to pass up the opportunity to play on a team with Sid [Crosby] and [Evgeni] Malkin.”

“It’s tough. I mean, we’re talking about a really good player,” Chiarelli said. “This kind of stuff happens. It shouldn’t, but it does. The reality of no-movement and no-trade clauses, it’s going to happen more. It’s a disappointment, but you get back on your horse and you go out there and find some more players.”

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