Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli said that he “believed we had a deal” for Flames RW Jarome Iginla about 12 hours before the star NHLer ended up being traded to the Penguins, according to Stephen Harris of the BOSTON HERALD. Chiarelli on Thursday said, "We were informed around noon yesterday that we had the player. We won the sweepstakes, so to speak. [Flames GM Jay Feaster] just had to speak to the player and his agent about the logistics." Chiarelli said that after "failing to get any answers" from the Flames, he was "finally informed a little before midnight that Iginla would be going to the Penguins instead." That was where Iginla "apparently preferred to go." Chiarelli said he believed that because of “the magnitude of the player that Jarome was for their organization, they wanted to give him some space on (the decision).” He added, “It’s the player’s choice. He opted to go to Pittsburgh. So we were out" (BOSTONHERALD.com, 3/28). In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont writes Chiarelli "took the high road Thursday in explaining the bizarre proceedings that led to Iginla making Boston the non-city of choice for him." Chiarelli "repeatedly opted not to discredit the Calgary organization." Dupont: "But Feaster reneged. Very bad business. Of course, the caveat is that he reneged because the face of the franchise was positioned to splatter egg all over his face." But that "doesn’t exonerate Feaster." GMs "live by their word, and if they are deemed untrustworthy, or blatant liars, or simply dithering buffoons who missed something in the details (such as, say, a player’s ability to veto a deal), then eventually no one deals with them." Either Feaster was "leapfrogged by his own ownership group, or thwarted by Iginla and his representation (Ontario-based Newport Sports), or he just messed up" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/29).
WHAT HAPPENED? The CP's Donna Spencer noted when Feaster approached Iginla about possibly trading him "to benefit the struggling Flames," Iginla "obliged by waiving the no-trade clause in his contract and provided the GM with a select list of teams he would consent to join" (CP, 3/28). Chiarelli said that after he learned of the Flames-Penguins trade, he "requested the opportunity to speak to Iginla, which was denied." The CBC's Elliotte Friedman wrote, "You can understand why Chiarelli would be furious. Any team would, including Calgary if it happened to them." It is why GMs "freak at trade rumours and the Flames themselves went into the Cone of Silence." As much as these clubs "want to clobber each other, it gets very difficult to do business when you are not trusted" (CBC.ca, 3/28). 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." In Boston, Fluto Shinzawa noted when Feaster told Chiarelli the news that Iginla was going to the Penguins, Feaster "acknowledged something had happened to scotch the Boston deal." Chiarelli declined to share "the nature of the event" (BOSTON.com, 3/28). In N.Y., Dhiren Mahiban reports Penguins GM Ray Shero was "almost as surprised as Chiarelli that Pittsburgh landed Iginla" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/29). Shero said, "I called my kids and let them know we acquired Jarome Iginla, and they said, 'No you didn't. He's going somewhere else. We saw on TV.' I'm like, 'Well, I think we're getting him'" (TRIBLIVE.com, 3/28).
SWING & MISS FOR THE MEDIA? CSNNE.com's Joe Haggerty wrote this was "one of the most stunning developments in recent NHL trade deadline history," as "every report on Wednesday" linked the Bruins to Iginla (CSNNE.com, 3/28). The CP's Spencer noted TSN's Aaron Ward tweeted the trade with the Bruins "was done, only to find out his 'sources' jumped the gun." TSN's Bob McKenzie tweeted, "To be clear -- no excuses -- our group at TSN, of which I'm part of, regrets making a reporting error tonight. Apologies to our audience" (CP, 3/28). WEEI.com's DJ Bean noted when Ward reported that the Flames and Bruins had agreed to a trade "everyone ran with it." TSN's Darren Dreger followed up "by confirming the report, and then a lot of reporters did that vague are-you-reporting-it-or-are-you-just-trying-to-look-like-you're-reporting-it-type of reporting" (WEEI.com, 3/28). CBSSPORTS.com's Brian Stubits wrote, "All of those reports on Wednesday night that Iginla was going to Boston? It's not that they were completely baseless. It's just that the important final ingredient was Iginla saying yes to the deal, and he didn't" (CBSSPORTS.com, 3/28).
FACE OF THE FRANCHISE: In Toronto, Steve Simmons writes, "The price Feaster came away with in exchange for the best player and most-popular player in franchise history is enough to make a Calgary Flames fan cry. Really, how do you sell the Iginla trade to a fractured fan base that deserves so much better?" (TORONTO SUN, 3/29).