BOSTON, MA - General Manager Peter Chiarelli held media availability today at TD Garden at 2:00 p.m., following the trade between Calgary and Pittsburgh that sent Jarome Iginla to the Penguins.
There were reports Wednesday night that the Calgary Flames captain had been traded to the Boston Bruins - and it spread across Twitter. No official news came from the Bruins, and at 1:15 a.m. on Thursday, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced that they had acquired forward Jarome Iginla from the Calgary Flames in exchange for Ben Hanowski, Kenny Agostino and a 2013 first-round draft pick.
From TD Garden on Thursday, Chiarelli addressed the media regarding the possible acquisition of Iginla with the following opening statements:
"Normally don't do this until the trade deadline, but I figured in light of what happened over the last couple of days that we wanted to apprise our fans, first and foremost, as to what went on, and obviously the media, just to give you the chronology of events and to answer some questions. I think for deal of this magnitude, for our fans to know what we're up to."
"I wanted to take this opportunity to let the fans know what went on."
"Let me say this first about some of the characters involved. I've known Jay Feaster, the General Manager of the Flames, for 15-20 years and I have nothing but good things to say about him. He's a gentleman. I don't know Jarome, but obviously being from Canada, I followed him closely over the years, and obviously his career speaks for itself."
Chiarelli then pieced together a timeline of his negotiations with the Calgary Flames regrading the possible acquisition, that would have involved defenseman Matt Bartkowski and forward Alexander Khokhlachev, in addition to a first-round draft pick (unconditional).
"A couple of weeks ago, we engaged in some discussions with Calgary regarding Iginla, that we had interest in acquiring him, and they went an got a list of I don't know how many number of teams, but Jay told me shortly after, a few weeks ago, that we were on a very small list."
"We had a couple, two or three, conversations regarding a trade. I was assured that the list was of teams that he would go to and waive his no-trade."
"We were informed around noon yesterday [Wednesday] that we had the player, we won the sweepstakes, so to speak. He just had to talk to Jarome and his agent regarding the logistics of everything."
After that, the B's General Manager took part in a series of moves, based on the premise of a deal.
"From that point on, there had been some discussions regarding Jarome taking some time, not to decide, but to kind of let things soak in."
"Then, we had our game [against Montreal] and prior to that, we made moves, as did they. They scratched Jarome. We made moves scratching Bart and Koko, who was playing with Providence. We brought up Torey [Krug]. We relied on the fact that we had a deal."
"Now, these things happen all the time, more than you know, about deals going south for whatever reason. We believed we had a deal. We operated under the premise of a deal. "
"When things were silent, I obviously, in my experience, know that if things go silent it means that something is going screwy from your end. And it was. Later that night, around a quarter to 12, I got a call from Jay saying that it was the player's choice and he opted to go to Pittsburgh and we were out. So, that's it in nutshell."
Chiarelli noted that he did not have the opportunity to speak to Iginla prior to the trade.
"Let me get this clear," began Chiarelli, when asked by a member of the media if there was anything else the organization could have done to make the deal happen. "No one’s talked to Jarome. I didn’t talk to Jarome. We never talked to anybody on it, other than the manager on the actual trade. So to answer your question, no, there’s nothing we could have done to convince him."
"I did ask for that opportunity, and I didn’t get it," Chiarelli said, when asked further, if he had wanted to speak with Iginla.
When the Bruins' General Manager was asked about his emotions surrounding the past 24 hours, he didn't hesitate to share just how tough it was to take last night's news.
"It's tough. I mean, we're talking about a really good player. It's like on July 1, when you're trying to sign a player and you're in the last one or two, three. I think you try to convince the player - while we couldn't talk to the player in this instance - and you don't get him, there's a high then a real low," said Chiarelli.
"You know what? You get used to it. This kind of stuff happens. It shouldn't, but it does. The reality of no-movement and no-trade clause, it's going to happen more. But, it's a disappointment, but you get back on your horse and you go out there and find some more players."
When questioned about not having the chance to talk to Iginla, Chiarelli understood the process that Calgary wanted to give their captain, having been a key part of the organization for so many years.
"I assume that it's because of the magnitude of the player that Jarome was for their organization, they wanted to give him some space on this. That's all I can say on that."
"What I'll tell you, is that they wanted to give him some time because he's such a great player for their organization. Obviously, stuff happened that I'm not privy to."
Bartkowski and Khokhlachev
When Chiarelli was informed around noon that the Bruins "had the player," a series of moves went into effect, that affected two players within the organization.
"We all agreed to scratch our players. It was just kind of the normal progression," said Chiarelli, when asked about scratch Matt Bartkowski from the Bruins' game against Montreal, and Alexander Khokhlachev from the Providence Bruins' game in Portland.
"In these deals, in these trades, there's a lot of things that happen, especially trades of this magnitude. I was part of one, a bigger one, in Ottawa, with the Yashin-Chara one. And we've had some big ones here."
"You have to go to ownership, there's a lot of moving parts here. Certainly wasn't like, okay, boom, you guys are the team. You guys win, let's do it in five minutes. That happens, by the way, sometimes, deals of lesser magnitude. It didn't in this case. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't."
As is the case with negotiations, Chiarelli had not informed the two B's prospects of the potential transaction.
"The ones that everyone’s talking about were the ones, and they were scratched. So they didn’t know, but in today’s world, it’s hard not to know, or at least expect something, with everybody on their phones, with Twitter," said Chiarelli, on the information being circulated over multimedia.
"Those two players are good players, Bart and Koko, and we've talked to them today, talked about the reality of hockey and all that stuff. And we look forward to having them in our group."
"I think you can see Bart growing in front of us as a player and you'll see Alexander soon."
"Reality is that these things happen and it happened to us. We will continue to try to improve our team. We're in a lot of these deals, and we feel that we can improve our team. We have some days left and opportunity to try and to do it."
Later in the availability, Chiarelli spoke about getting the chance to personally talk with Bartkowski and Khokhlachev following Wednesday's events.
"You tell them that, you guys are good players, we still like you, and you’re an important part of our future. And you move on."
The B's have no shortage of prospects developing at all levels, whether in Providence, the OHL, college and overseas, but Chiarelli is also focused considerably on the short-term, on the Bruins being a "serious contender" for the Stanley Cup.
"You still have to be patient because you know, you trust in your players. They’re a good team. We have to be better in a number of areas, but we’re getting points, and we also know that the prize is after the regular season."
"We’re committed to fixing these things. I’m committed to trying to improve the team also."
"I’m confident that we’re a serious contender," Chiarelli said during the availability. "I think we can win with our team, but I think we have to be improved. There’s a lot of luck involved. You have to have everyone clicking. We have an ability to add players, but it’s been the hardest that I’ve ever seen it in my years, just because of the short supply."
"I’ve got a lot of marks up on my board right now. It’s like a yard sale up there," said Chiarelli, on if there would be any potential trades before the deadline, before being asked if he deemed it more important to add a forward or defenseman to the roster....
"I’d like to add one of both," he said. "And that’s kind of been my position from the beginning."
The Bruins' General Manager also answered a series of questions from the Boston media members in attendance at TD Garden regarding the potential trade, if he thought it was a matter of Iginla wanted to play with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, on if he had a 'Plan B' going into the negotiations, if he ever had any doubts throughout the process, his experience with no-movement clauses, the waiting time in between noon and when the final deal with Pittsburgh went through after 1:00 a.m., and now facing off against the Penguins, among others.
To view the full transcript of the availability, visit the News & Features section of BostonBruins.com.
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