Claude Julien’s statement at the trade deadline in late March, when Jarome Iginla used his no-trade rights to steer himself to the Penguins instead of the Bruins, has proven prophetic:
"It'll be at the end of the year he'll see whether he made the right decision or not,” he said, adding the team didn’t have any animosity toward Iginla for choosing Pittsburgh over Boston.
Now that the Bruins and Penguins are facing off for the right to play for the Stanley Cup, you’d think the B’s would use Iglina’s deadline diss as motivation, right? If they are, they’re not saying so. Reporters have asked a number of players about Iginla this week and they’re all steering clear of the topic, not wanting to give an opponent any bulletin board material.
Iginla, who has 12 points so far this postseason, is taking a similar tack.
“I knew Boston was a great team,’’ Iginla said. ‘‘It was one of those situations when I [chose Pittsburgh] that I knew there was a big possibility we'd be in this situation [in the Eastern Conference finals], and here we are. I'm looking forward to the challenge.’’
As GM Peter Chiarelli tells it, the Bruins had been told early on the day of the trade deadline on March 28 that they had a deal: Iginla would be traded to Boston and Matt Bartkowski, Alexander Khokhlachev, and a first-round pick would he headed to Calgary. As the hours ticked away and they hadn’t heard anything further from the Flames, they knew something wasn’t right.
“We believed we had a deal,” Chiarelli said. “We operated on the premise that we had a deal. When things were silent, in my experience, when things go silent, things are usually going screwy from your end. And it was.”
The Flames had given Iginla, who had a no-trade clause, the chance to think things over. He decided he’d rather play for the Penguins, who at the time were riding a 13-game winning streak, and the Boston deal was off.
Iginla recently downplayed his role in the breakdown of the deal.
‘‘I never said yes and then no,’’ he said.
The Bruins instead traded for Jaromir Jagr a few hours later. So now Jagr is facing the team for which he played 11 seasons, and Iglina goes up against the team he spurned to join the front-running Penguins.
Can Saturday get here already?