Iginla 'wanted' Penguins
Jarome Iginla wanted the Penguins.
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were two of his reasons.
"To play on a team with the two best players in the world - and the roll they're on - I wanted that," Iginla said Thursday in Calgary, Alberta, where he bid adieu to the Flames after 16 NHL seasons.
The Penguins acquired Iginla just after midnight on Thursday, sending two prospects and a first-round draft pick to Calgary in exchange for the Flames' franchise leader in goals, points and games.
Iginla has scored over 500 goals, notched over 1,000 points, and won Olympic gold medals with Mario Lemieux (2002) and Crosby (2010).
He has never touched the Stanley Cup, and he is counting on the team owned by Lemieux and captained by Crosby to erase that from a Hockey Hall-of-Fame resume.
Three teams took a shot at adding Iginla: the Penguins, Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings.
The Penguins were preferred because they are best built to win the Cup, Iginla said.
Iginla, 35, is on an expiring contract and will become an unrestricted free agent July 5.
Penguins general manager Ray Shero said he has not discussed an extension with Iginla's representatives or the agents of left winger Brenden Morrow and defensemen Douglas Murray - players acquitted by the Penguins in trades Sunday and Monday, respectively.
Shero's interest in Iginla was the hockey world's worst kept secret, but a deal with Calgary was not struck until after reports out of Canada called the "Iggy Watch" for the Bruins late Wednesday. Shero's staff was informed multiple times there would likely be no deal, he said.
However, the hands of Calgary general manager Jay Feaster were cuffed by Iginla, whose contract contained a clause that allowed him to pick a new club.
Feaster called Shero around midnight. He asked that the Penguins' package include a first-round pick at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, and the deal was done.
"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,'" Shero said. "I'm, like, ‘Well, I think we're getting him.'
"If there's a chance to get Jarome Iginla... we're going to try and get Jarome Iginla. There's only one Jarome Iginla."
Penguins players were thrilled by Shero's latest move. Most learned of the trade upon waking Thursday morning. "He's (an) unbelievable player, and I know he's a good guy," Malkin said. "He has a lot of experience, and, of course, he (can) help the team to win."
Left winger Matt Cooke said Shero had "made a statement" that the Penguins should expect to win in the playoffs, where they have lost three consecutive series to lower-seeded opponents.
A right winger known for a powerful shot and skating, Iginla has arguably been the NHL's best power forward over the last 12 years - scoring at least 30 goals in each of the last 11 seasons, including two seasons each of at least 40 and 50 goals.
In addition to his on-ice prowess, Iginla is a reputably fiery and vocal leader - the latter something the Penguins have been looking to replace since Bill Guerin retired after the 2009-10 campaign.
Crosby said it would "not (take) long" for teammates to realize that Iginla is as advertised.
"If you spend any time with him, see the way he plays, what he brings to the team - it won't take long at all," Crosby said.
He and Iginla became linemates for Team Canada during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and Iginla set up Crosby's golden goal in the win over Team USA.
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said Thursday did anticipate Iginla playing some with Crosby, but that he did not "have an inkling" to make a change with the Penguins' top line of Crosby, left winger Chris Kunitz and right winger Pascal Dupuis.
Those three players had combined for 49 goals and 120 points before a home game against Winnipeg on Thursday night.
The Eastern Conference Penguins were seeking a 14th consecutive victory despite playing 10 of those contests without Malkin, the MVP last season and a two-time scoring champion.
Iginla did not play Thursday night. He had been a healthy scratch for the Flames the night before.
He must obtain a working visa before he can play for the Penguins, and that process could take a few days, Shero said.
Iginla, who cited mixed emotions about leaving the Flames, for whom he served as captain since 2003, said he would treat joining the Penguins as he did playing for Canada at the Olympics.
He will try to fit in, and accept any role.
"I'd love to get my first crack at one Cup," he said. "Pittsburgh has the two best players in the world. It's really hard as a player to pass up the opportunity to play on a team with Sid and Malkin."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: What are Penguins, Pirates up to?
- Capitals dominate overmatched Penguins in win at Verizon Center
- Police stop car in Beltzhoover, find body in back seat
- UPMC, Highmark disagree over payment of medical claims for children
- Police review board finds officer acted appropriately in Pridefest arrest
- Lapierre eager to make mark with Penguins
- Twisted Vine celebrates with grand re-opening, new merchants
- Coal truck, another hauling beer crash on Route 22
- Digital Age reboots foreign language instruction in Western Pa. schools
- For Penguins coach Johnston, it’s a matter of substance over style
- IRS scam snares another Westmoreland County resident