Jarome Iginla is a Bruin. Who thought that would happen?
A good portion of black-and-gold fans thought that would be the case two months ago when the highly coveted forward left the Bruins standing at the trading block empty handed, after a last minute change of heart shipped Iginla to Pittsburgh.
In April, Bruins had the paperwork all crafted up, the ink on the contract was still drying, when Pete Chiarelli and Cam Neely had to explain to a fiery contingent of Bruins' beat reporters why the All-Star forward was not in a Boston uniform.
Iginla simply had a last-minute change of heart and decided to go to Pittsburgh and play out the remainder of the lockout-shortened season.
When the NHL free agent signing period started last weekend, Boston displayed no hard feelings towards Iginla and welcomed him to the icy garden on Causeway Street with a one-year incentive-backed contract worth about $6 million.
In a strange twist of events, the Bruins met Iginla and the Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals, where they sent the blubbery birds shuffling back into their igloo after a sweep. Iginla mentioned in a conference call with the media that he went to Pittsburgh because the Pens were on a roll at the trade deadline.
Well, little did he know that the Bruins were going to be the team to reckon with in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. The Bruins sat pretty as one of the top teams in the entire NHL, but Iginla still decided that Pittsburgh was a good fit for him.
While with Pittsburgh, Iginla experienced a successful playoff season, scoring four goals and tallying eight assists. Iginla is the type of player who meshes well with the Bruins' grind-it-out style of play. Experts classify Iginla as a solid two-way player, who feels no shame in sacrificing his body on the defensive side of the rink.
In life away from the rink, people like you and I always look for a second chance at making up for something wrong we did, so why shouldn't Iginla be welcomed with open arms to Boston? Diehard Bruins fans are probably wondering what the first practice will be like for Iginla and his new teammates?
How will they accept him as one of their own? The answer is just like any other player. The Bruins are a class-act group of professionals.
In my eyes, rivalries between teams are things created by fans and the media to make a particular game more appealing. It is no secret that players pick up the newspaper, flick on the television or listen to the radio on their way to the rink.
Boston fans are a hard-nosed group not timid about showing its allegiance. But Iginla backing out of the trade will be quickly forgotten when the future Hall of Famer wears out the goal lamp.
No hard feelings, Iginla, Bruins fans will soon be purchasing your jersey and cheering you on, like the March 30 deadline incident never happened.
The Bruins made a bold move this offseason by shipping 21-year-old Tyler Seguin to Dallas in exchange for Loui Eriksson, a Swedish-born wing, who can play on both the left and right side. Eriksson is 27 years old and has scored 150 goals in 501 games for the Stars. Eriksson is a well rounded player Boston fans will soon come to love.
And, then there was the departure of Rich Peverley, also a chip in the Dallas trade. Peverley was a role player for the Bruins, whose wealth could not be measured in just goals.
Back to Seguin, the Bruins dumped him before his rookie contract expired. That was a solid move by the Bruins to save cap room and sign Iginla at a relatively cheap price. Iginla will replace Seguin at center. Seguin has been chastised by the fans and media, due to his lack of maturity off the ice and soft play in the postseason.
Let's put it this way: The move will either hurt or help the Bruins in the long run. It would sting if Seguin goes to Dallas and picks up where he left off in 2011, when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup.
Nathan Horton's contract expired at the end of the season and rumblings in the media pointed towards the 28-year-old not wanting to return to Beantown. Rumors were that he wanted to move to a warmer climate ... Well he certainly didn't accomplish that by signing a seven-year deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
When I heard that on the radio this weekend, it made me chuckle. Hopefully, Horton enjoys himself in Columbus. Horton said in his introductory press conference with Columbus that he had trouble finding a house in Boston for his family. Horton made $4 million a year, and he is saying he had a hard time finding an affordable house? How do the average people survive, if hockey stars can't find housing?
What is a Blue Jacket anyway? No, the team is not named after a piece of outerwear; it actually does have some historical significance to the Columbus region.
According to the Columbus website, the franchise is nicknamed after Ohio's contributions to the Union Army during the Civil War. Any history buff will tell you that the Union Army wore blue uniforms, hence the Blue Jacket nickname.
When hockey season opens up in October, it will be interesting to see where all the new pieces fit. Be sure to keep thinking hockey, maybe it will give your mind an escape from the heat.