Jarome Iginla has signed a one year, six million dollar contract to play for the Boston Bruins. This is the second time since March that Bruins fans went to bed believing Iggy would be joining their team, but this time it was still true when they woke up.
Iginla has been one of my favorite players in the NHL for a long time. The guy plays the right way, and is as good at dropping the gloves as he is at finding the back of the net. I was thrilled when it was first reported he was being traded to the Bruins, and then livid the following morning when he called off the deal and went to Pittsburgh because he thought they had a better chance at winning the Stanley Cup.
While fans were initially demoralized after yet another player Peter Chiarelli wanted ended up being traded to a rival (former Bruin Michael Ryder was dealt to the Canadiens, and Dallas Stars captain Brenden Morrow also chose Pittsburgh over Boston before Iginla), but it was used as motivation for the team. Whether they ever publicly admit it or not, it had to get the guys in the Bruins’ dressing room angry that these guys didn’t want to play with them. When the B’s played Pittsburgh in their final regular season meeting, Nathan Horton fought Jarome Iginla and separated his shoulder. These details made it that much sweeter when the Bruins swept the Penguins out of the playoffs in their way to the Stanley Cup Finals. Talk about karma.
That’s in the past now. Nathan Horton decided last week that he’d rather not play in a hockey obsessed market like Boston despite being a stellar playoff performer during his time here. Horty signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets, perhaps so that he and Marian Gaborik could go to Ohio State football games together (or he just likes money, who knows?). In addition, Tyler Seguin was dealt to Dallas and Jaromir Jagr is really old, so the Bruins have some serious holes to fill at right wing if they want to remain competitive for championships. This is something the Bruins are more than willing to forgive because it’s a new season and all parties involved want to win.
Perhaps the saddest salary cap casualty this summer for the B’s was veteran defenseman and alternate captain Andrew Ference. Ference embodied the heart and soul of the Bruins and was proud to call Boston his adopted home. According to Joe Haggerty, Ference’s last act for the Bruins was help convince his former teammate and captain in Calgary to sign with Boston. Besides Ference, the only other Bruins players who have played with Iggy are Zdeno Chara in the All Star Game and Patrice Bergeron for Team Canada in the Olympics. While Ference is returning home to play in Edmonton, Bruins fans will never forget what a great guy he was and how he helped us win the Stanley Cup in 2011.
There are still plenty of moves the Bruins might make, but the roster is starting to look pretty good. Hockey season can’t come soon enough!