Iginla shipped to Penguins for prospects plus pick
Flames’ former captain wished teammates well before game
CALGARY - After 16 seasons, two Rocket Richard Trophies, one trip to the Stanley Cup final, two Olympic gold medals and countless forehead-crinkling smiles, Jarome Iginla is no longer a Calgary Flame.
Take some extra tissues to work this morning, Calgary. Take a deep breath and let the news sink in.
Jarome Iginla is a Pittsburgh Penguin (not a Boston Bruin, as was widely reported Wednesday night in a deal that might have fallen through at the last moment.)
Time for the grieving process - and the long-awaited rebuild of a floundering National Hockey League franchise – to officially begin.
“He’s been such a presence on this team, for this city, this organization, for so long,” a shell-shocked Michael Cammalleri was saying after the Flames defeated the Colorado Avalanche Wednesday night. “He’s such a dominant player. A guy who is in the lineup all the time, not missing any games.
“It will be different, for sure, without him.”
The Flames announced late Wednesday that Iginla is headed to Pittsburgh for forwards Kenneth Agostino and Ben Hankowski and Pittsburgh’s 2013 first-round pick.
Clearly, this is a move designed, on Calgary’s part, to start stocking a bare cupboard of prospects with eye to the future.
The long-term future.
The Penguins, on the other hand, are girding for another run at the Stanley Cup – the only item missing from Iginla’s storied resume. They also just happen to be one of four teams reportedly on Iginla’s list of approved destinations (he has a no-movement clause in a contract set to expire this summer.)
In spite of his age, Iginla was considered the prize catch on the trade market with the April 3 trade deadline fast approaching.
The Flames, meanwhile, sent out a press release nearly two hours before puck drop between Calgary and the Colorado Avalanche to announce Iginla would sit out as a healthy scratch.
“He texted me today after pre-game nap to say he wouldn’t be here tonight and to wish us the best in the game tonight,” Cammalleri said. “That was pretty much it.”
In an emotional performance for the home team, the Flames reeled off their eighth straight win at the Dome (keeping in mind they’ve lost 10 straight on the road.)
Cammalleri led the way with two goals. Jiri Hudler and Steve Begin notched singles. Jamie McGinn Gabriel Landeskog, and Ryan O’Reilly replied for the Avalanche.”
Just how weird of a night was it? Well, consider TSN kept replaying the footage of general manager Jay Feaster and assistant general manager John Weisbrod marching out of the press box at the end of the Bruins-Montreal Canadiens game, presumably en route to the executive offices.
Just how weird of a night was it? Well, TSN commentator Mike Johnson works between the benches, and said Flames players were peering over to ask him about the Iginla trade between whistles.
Just how weird of a night as it? Well, the only standing ovation went to former Flame killer Wayne Gretzky, shown on the big screen sitting in one of the Dome luxury boxes.
Just how weird of a night was it? Well, at 5:32 and 19:07 of the third period, the “Iggy, Iggy” chant erupted again with the finality of it all sinking in.
“A nice gesture by the fans,” said defenceman Mark Giordano. “There’s no doubt what he means to the fans, the organization, and the city. Obviously, a different kind of night. A little bit weird. But hopefully everything works out.”
An announcement – or press conference – is expected as early as this morning.
“It’s our captain,” Giordano said. “One of the best players that’s played the game. He’s been here his whole career. I think it was a little bit surreal, different.
“But I thought we did a good job and played hard. That’s all we were asking of each other. And, for Iggy, a friend and a good teammate for a long time.”
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