Canucks players happy Jarome Iginla traded east
Notebook: Players express admiration for longtime Calgary foe who is off to Steeltown
Jarome Iginla (right) of the Calgary Flames takes out Vancouver Canucks winger Jannik Hansen along the boards during their March 3, 2013 NHL game at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary. Hansen, for one, is happy he won't have to go nose-to-nose with Iginla anytime soon, as the future Hall of Famer was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday.
Photograph by: Gerry Thomas, NHLI via Getty Images
VANCOUVER — Jarome Iginla is off to the Pittsburgh Penguins and the National Hockey League’s Eastern Conference, which brought a smile Thursday to the face of Vancouver Canucks forward Jannik Hansen.
“It’s nice that he didn’t end up with one of our rivals for the stretch drive,” Hansen said before the Canucks-Avalanche contest at Rogers Arena. “Obviously, seeing him with another team in our conference wouldn’t be as pleasant as watching him in the East.”
Hansen, now in his fifth full NHL campaign, has spent his entire career butting heads with Iginla during the many Canucks-Calgary Flames’ Northwest Division scuffles. Now, the only time they can possibly meet again this season is in the Stanley Cup Final.
“I’ll take that any day right now,” chuckled Hansen. “I have nothing but good things to say about Jarome Iginla from playing against him. He plays extremely hard and obviously plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played. For him, it’s probably nice to get an opportunity to compete for a Stanley Cup and what better spot than Pittsburgh?”
Chris Higgins has seen Iginla as a teammate and a foe. Higgins was a Flame for 12 games three years ago.
“From the short time I played in Calgary, I had a lot of respect for him,” Higgins said. “He works very, very hard and really cares about his teammates. I really hope it works out for him. He’s definitely a fiery guy and he plays with emotion. But he plays the right way and guys respect him for that.
“Jarome has been the Flames’ identity for so long, it’s probably going to be weird to go watch that team without him in the lineup.”
The Canucks and Flames meet twice more this season, April 6 at Rogers Arena and four days later in Calgary.
SICK BAY WATCH: Right-winger Steve Pinizzotto (exhaustion) returned to the Canucks lineup against Colorado while defenceman Keith Ballard, who had been an emergency fill-in at forward, stepped out. Ballard’s scratching wasn’t performance-based, however, as Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault revealed Ballard suffered a “very, very, very” minor foot fracture in Tuesday’s 1-0 shootout win over Columbus.
“If this was playoff hockey, he’d probably be able to suck it up and play but considering that it is quite painful right now, we’re going to give him a couple of days here,” said Vigneault. “It is not something that is going to be long term. It is day-to-day.”
Ballard actually took the morning skate Thursday and did line rushes alongside spare blueliner Cam Barker. Right-winger Zack Kassian (back) also took the morning skate but did not dress. He appears to be a possibility for Saturday’s road game in Edmonton, barring any setback of course. Kassian, 22, has missed five consecutive games and seven of the last eight. “I would say Zack is real close,” Vigneault added.
TRADE DAZE: Two seasons ago, Chris Higgins was dealt to the Canucks at the trade deadline but it didn’t come as a surprise to him. The Florida Panthers were out of the playoff hunt in the East and Higgins was on an expiring contract.
“I was one of those guys who was certainly a possibility to be moved and it worked out for the best, I guess,” Higgins said. “I was in my apartment when I got the call. I had just got up from a nap and I was on my way, I think, within three or four hours, or something like that. I had a couple of friends go down to Florida and clean up my place for me so the landlord wouldn’t get too mad.” Higgins, of course, wound up playing until mid-June as the Canucks marched to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final before losing to the Boston Bruins.
QUOTABLE: “It’s always interesting to see these kinds of trades happen. I saw his press conference today and he looked happy to get a chance to go a long way.” — Daniel Sedin on Jarome Iginla’s move to Pittsburgh.
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun