Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli held a press conference Thursday at TD Garden to inform the media of what took place Wednesday as the B’s thought they had acquired Flames captain Jarome Iginla, only to see him get dealt to the Penguins.
The Bruins and Flames agreed to a deal that would sent Alexander Khokhlachev, Matt Bartkowski and a non-conditional first-round pick to the Flames for Iginla. The 35-year-old had put the Bruins on a list of four teams for which he’d move his no-trade clause, but after the Flames told the Bruins that they had “won the sweepstakes” and scratched their captain Wednesday for the sake of the trade, Iginla informed Flames general manager Jay Feaster that he wanted to play for the Penguins. The Flames then completed a deal with Pittsburgh to accommodate the player.
Chiarelli said that he was “assured that the list was teams the he would go to and waive his no-trade” and that he never had an indication throughout the process that it was an ordered list of any kind.
“I guess you initially feel [hoodwinked], but I’ve been around for a while and i’ve seen things happen similar to this, and it happens,” he said. “We were on the list, and you assume that once you come to a deal, that you’re going to get the player. That’s what I was operating under.”
Chiarelli described the events of Wednesday as such:
“We were informed around noon yesterday that we had the player, we’d won the sweepstakes, so to speak. [Feaster] just had to talk to Jarome and his agent regarding logistics of everything. From that point on, there had been some discussions regarding Jarome taking some time, not to decide, but to let things soak in.
“Then we had our game and prior to that, we’d made moves, as did they. They scratched Jarome. We’d made moves, scratching Bart and Koko, who was playing in Providence. We brought up Torey [Krug], and we relied on the fact that we had a deal.
“Now, these things happen all the time — more than you know — about deals going south for whatever reason. We believed we had a deal and we operated on the premise of the deal. When things were silent — obviously, in my experience, when things go silent, usually something is going screwy from your end. It was.
“Later that night, around 12, I got a call from Jay saying that it was the player’s choice and he opted to go to Pittsburgh, so we were out. That’s it in a nutshell.”
Chiarelli said that he asked for the opportunity to speak to Iginla, but “didn’t get it.” Asked if he was surprised to see this happen to a team that’s been a destination of sorts for players in recent years, he guessed that the Penguins’ 13-game win streak may have made up Iginla’s mind.
“Here’s what I think: I think that Pitt, and God bless them because I like Ray Shero and the whole group there, Pitt has been on this amazing run, and we’ve been in and out a little bit lately,” Chiarelli said. “We’re a very good team, and I think as the wind blows in the last couple of days, I think that’s how it goes.”