It was a wild ride Wednesday waiting for official word to come down that the Bruins had acquired Jarome Iginla from the Calgary Flames.
After all TSN reported it, so it had to be true.
Well, as we learned reports of that trade were only part true. According to Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli, the deal was done from Boston’s side. Except Calgary GM Jay Feaster then left it up to Iginla to pick his location.
Bruins fans have certainly felt dragged around by the whole process, and they’re certain to let Iginla know their response to his decision when the Penguins visit Boston for a game April 19. One person who wasn’t disappointed, however, was Matt Bartkowski. The Boston defenseman would’ve been part of the package – along with Alexander Khokhlachev and a first-round pick – the Bruins were set to ship to the Flames. He signed a one-year, one-way deal with the Bruins Tuesday, and Boston is where he wants to be.
After he was a healthy scratch Wednesday for Boston’s loss to Montreal, Bartkowski said he kind of knew something was in the offing. And then he rode out the wave with the rest of us.
“It was out of my hands, and I guess during the game I was just hearing rumors and stuff,” Bartkowski said after he practiced with the Bruins Friday morning in Wilmington. “And then everybody was saying ‘yeah, it’s a done deal’ this and that. And then 12:30 I look on the internet and he’s traded to Pittsburgh. So I was pretty relieved and happy because I wouldn’t have signed that deal here if I didn’t want to be here and didn’t like it here. So I was pretty happy when I heard it didn’t go through.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien said he hasn’t spoken directly to Bartkowski since the deal with Calgary fell through. Bartkowski confirmed that he did get words of encouragement from Chiarelli. Everyone is in agreement that Bartkowski should take it as a compliment that the Flames wanted him in return for a player of Iginla’s caliber.
“I guess it’s a pretty cool feeling to know that I have the potential, at least they think I have the potential, to be a pretty good player for sure,” the 24-year-old Bartkowski said.
None of the Bruins who were asked about Iginla’s decision Friday were willing to begrudge his choice or even say that the slight from the star forward would serve as motivation going forward. But whether he’s a Bruin for the long term or he’s dealt out of town before the April 3 trade deadline, Bartkowski should pull a little extra motivation from this fiasco.
For now Bartkowski is known just as a promising defenseman in the Bruins’ system who was nearly part of one of the biggest trades that team has pulled in years. Most of his inspiration for forging a great career should come from within, but changing history by making the Flames regret not being able to take the Bruins’ deal could be a little piece of Bartkowski’s thinking as he’s working to make himself the best player he can be.
It’s a reach to say that someday the Flames will say, ‘Darn, we could’ve had Bartkowski.’ That doesn’t mean Bartkowski should try to turn the Iginla trade that didn’t happen into the Bartkowski trade that fell through.