Bruins miss out: Jarome Iginla traded to Pittsburgh

Find Jarome Iginla.

Such was the name of the other game at the Garden Wednesday night, the one that didn’t feature the Bruins and Canadiens hooking up in the most raucous and entertaining 65-plus minutes of the season on Causeway Street. The Bruins ended up losing the evening’s entertainment via shootout, 6-5, and then Boston’s acquisition of Iginla, the aging warhorse right winger, also went deep, deep, deep into overtime.

The Bruins ended up losing out on that one, too.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Shortly after midnight, TSN in Canada reported that the deal was done with the Bruins. Not so fast. Moments later, TSN revised its report, saying the Flames had dealt their longtime captain to the Penguins.

The Boston deal reportedly had the Bruins shipping defenseman Matt Bartkowski, prospect Alexander Khokhlachev, and a first-round pick to Calgary in return. But there was no confirmation from the Bruins. Now we know why.

Calgary instead received college prospects Kenneth Agostino (Yale) and Ben Hanowski (St. Cloud State), plus Pittsburgh’s first-round pick, in exchange for Iginla.

Committed to dealing the longtime face of their franchise, the Flames held the 35-year-old Iginla out of their home game against Colorado, and here on the East Coast, no one was saying much of anything for the record.

Although, in a break from standard operating procedure, Bruins coach Claude Julien at least acknowledged the trade buzz when asked about it during his postgame comments.

Earlier in the week, he said he hadn’t “heard a peep’’ from his players about the oncoming (April 3) trade deadline. But with Iggy-to-the-Hub rumors running rampant around the Garden, Julien said he called a couple of players into his office before the game in an attempt to calm them down.

“They were a little jumpy,’’ said Julien.

Which is when I asked Julien if he would be happy once the deadline had passed.

“If it works out,’’ he said, smiling, and opting not to define what “it’’ meant.

The “it’’ was obvious. It was Iginla.

He is a legend in southern Alberta, and in Canada, where hockey is everything, teams care about how the public perceives such important partings.

They are about to finish their fourth season without going to the playoffs.

There is a lot of hurt up there, and losing Iginla, no matter what the return, is going to dull the voice and heart of vox populi.

Meanwhile, Bartkowski was on Causeway Street but also was held out of the lineup, his spot filled by hurry-up call-up Torey Krug (who looked pretty good on the Boston power play, first unit).

Bartkowski no doubt was among those in Julien’s office prior to the game.

For what it’s worth, Bartkowski was among the first to leave the Boston dressing room postgame, but he was not lugging an equipment bag over his shoulder or wearing the forlorn look of the departed. Smartly dressed in jacket and tie, he strolled out leisurely.

He won’t be on the ice Thursday with the Bruins, but that’s no hint, either, because Julien again called off practice to give his tired charges a day of rest.

Why did a deal with the Bruins not happen? Maybe with the Bruins unwilling to part with top goalie prospect Malcolm Subban, perhaps Flames general manager Jay Feaster pocketed the Boston offer and leveraged a better deal out of Pittsburgh.

The Penguins have to hope Iginla’s sagging game the last season and a half is less related to his age and his 1,200-plus games than it is to just being with a bad Flames team. They haven’t qualified for the playoffs since the spring of 2009 and Iginla, who has been a mainstay there since October 1996, is running out of time to win a Cup.

If Iginla goes to Pittsburgh and plays like Ray Bourque did in Colorado after his late-in-life kick at the Cup, then GM Peter Chiarelli will be knocked for not making a deal. But if Iginla’s just, well, old and petering out the way even courageous and aged players do, then it’s a pricy package gone for naught.

That bit of risk, frankly, is why Subban was not part of the deal. Subban has the chance to blossom into an elite franchise goaltender.

If Iginla turned out to be less than hoped for, and Subban had a 10-15-year run with the Flames, then that’s a view in the rearview mirror that stays and stays and stays.

For now, we wait. As Boston went to sleep Wednesday night, and as Calgary did the same, a light remained on here on Causeway Street. It went out shortly after 1:30 a.m. There’s one in Pittsburgh that still shining brightly, welcoming Iginla.