It isn’t the way that people may have expected at around 10:30 p.m. on March 27, but Jarome Iginla is coming to Boston.
Just over three weeks after squashing a trade to the Bruins, Iginla will take the Garden ice Friday with the Penguins , the team he told Flames general manager Jay Feaster to deal him to after Feaster had told the Bruins they had the player.
The story is ancient history by now: Iginla, in the final year of his deal, told the Flames he would waive his no-trade clause for the Bruins, Penguins , Kings or Blackhawks. The Bruins submitted an offer of Alexander Khokhlachev, Matt Bartkowski and their first-round pick this year, and Feaster told Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli around noon of the 27th that the deal was done. Both sides scratched their players that night, but Iginla told Feaster he’d only go to the Penguins. Feaster avoided Chiarelli’s calls throughout the day, finally calling him back to say that Iginla wanted to be a Penguin and that the Flames were forced to make a deal with them.
So how do you think he’ll be accepted Friday?
“I’m sure the fans are going to be all over him,” Milan Lucic  said Thursday. “I think it will just increase this rivalry that is kind of increasing as this season’s gone on.”
Yet as fired up as the fans may be to give Iginla a hard time, the Bruins say there are no hard feelings. There should be obvious motivation to prove Iginla’s decision wrong, but the B’s insist they weren’t offended by the veteran power forward’s refusal to play in Boston.
“We’ve put that behind us,” Brad Marchand  said. “We can’t let that affect us. We can’t let that determine how we’re going to play tomorrow. He felt that they have a good team, and they do. They’ve got some great players over there. That’s fine. That’s his decision. We can’t hold that against him. He’s got a certain level of respect that he’s owed. He’s played a long time in this league, and for him to make that decision, that’s fine. We’re not going to judge him for that. It’s not going to alter or determine how we play tomorrow.”
Marchand said the whole ordeal was made easier by the acquisition of Jaromir Jagr, a former Penguin himself who adds his own twist to the rivalry. Jagr has seven points (one goal, six assists) in seven games for the Bruins, while Iginla has two goals and four assists for six points through eight games for Pittsburgh.
“The team did a great job at bouncing back and getting another great player. He’s one of the best players to ever play the game,” Marchand said. “‘¦ We’re lucky to have Jags here.”
Not only did Jagr not think the Stars would trade him, but he too thought that Iginla was a Bruin when reports of the deal began surfacing. He played 11 seasons as a Penguin and ruffled feathers when he opted to sign with the rival Flyers rather than going to where he began his career when he returned to the NHL  prior to last season. Between being the consolation prize in the Iginla derby and his history with Pittsburgh, there should be plenty of reasons for him get up for Friday’s game. He has another in mind.
“They’re first in our conference,” Jagr said. “Maybe we’re going to meet them in the playoffs, so we have to do our best to show them that we can play against them.”