Iginla's choice stirs B's-Pens rivalry

BOSTON -- Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli felt compelled Thursday to explain how things went south after coming agonizingly close to acquiring this season's biggest trade chip in forward Jarome Iginla, who ended up in Pittsburgh instead.

It was a crushing disappointment for the Bruins organization, and Chiarelli wanted to explain to the fans exactly what happened.

"It's tough," Chiarelli said. "We're talking about a really good player. It's like on July 1 when you're trying to sign a player, and you do everything you can to try to convince the player, and while we couldn't talk to the player in this instance, and then you don't get him, there's a real high, then a real low. You get used to it. This kind of stuff happens all the time. It shouldn't but it does. The reality of no-move and no-trade clauses, it's going to happen more.

"It's a disappointment, but you get back on your horse and you find some more players."

Chiarelli showed no ill will toward the Calgary Flames organization or GM Jay Feaster.

"He's a gentleman," Chiarelli said. "I don't know Jarome, but I've obviously being from Canada I've followed him close over the years, and obviously his career speaks for itself."

In the end, Iginla opted for the hotter team in joining the Penguins, who've won 13 straight. The future Hall of Famer explained his decision Thursday afternoon in Calgary.

"I wasn't fully sure what was going on, but I knew Pittsburgh was in the mix with Boston," he said. "They're both amazing cities, very successful organizations, and great teams. As far as when it comes down to the choice that I had in one or the other, it's really hard as a player to pass up the opportunity to play on a team with Sid Sidney Crosby] and [[Evgeni] Malkin and the roll that they're on and the success they had."

The Bruins and the Penguins are two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, and even though Pittsburgh's roster is loaded with talent and seemed to be the favorites to win the conference, Chiarelli said the Bruins aren't ready to concede anything.

"They're a lock, right?" Chiarelli said sarcastically. "They're a good team.

"Here's what I think. Pitt, and God bless them because I like [general manager] Ray Shero and the whole group there, Pitt has been on this amazing run and we've been a little in and out lately. We're a very good team and as the winds blow the last couple of days, that's how it goes."

The thought of the Bruins facing the Penguins in the Stanley Cup playoffs entices Chiarelli.

"They're a real good team," Chiarelli said. "You've seen our games against them and I would welcome it. When we're going, we play a real good game that matches up well against them. We're shutting them down and we're playing a heavier game. You see what they've added, they've added heavier players, so they know what it takes. Again, I'm not laying down for them, but they know what it takes."