- It was quite an interesting 48 hours for defenseman Matt Bartkowski
, who had an inkling Wednesday night when he was scratched by Boston and watched the game against Montreal from the press box, that the rumors swirling around about him might be true - that he was headed to Calgary in the trade for Jaroma Iginla.
"I had my suspicions just because I was scratched and then seeing that [Alexander] Khokhlachev was, and Iginla. You hear all the rumors, I had suspicions."
But Bartkowski, who had been recalled March 22 after Johnny Boychuk was termed day-to-day with a lower-body injury, heard the news late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning that Iginla was a Penguin - and that he was still remaining a Bruin.
When asked how much he was staying off Twitter right now, Bartkowski joked, "I don't even have a Twitter, so I was pretty happy about that."
"Really can't control it, so I don't really worry about it, or watch rumors," he said on the possible deal and impending trade deadline. "It was pretty hard not to be aware of it, but I don't really pay attention to any of that…so it's real easy to keep my mind off of it."
Being in the Boston system since 2010, Bartkowski developed in Providence and has been a key cog in their march back to the playoffs. The defenseman was acquired on March 3, 2010, in the trade with Dennis Seidenberg from the Florida Panthers, in exchange for Craig Weller, Byron Bitz and a second-round draft pick in 2010. With both the D-men currently on the B's back end, that trade has paid dividends.
"I have a pretty good relationship with all the management here," said Bartkowski, who was his same cool, calm and collected self. "From what I was told, it was asked from the Calgary side. Really nothing to do with this side trying to get rid of me or anything like that."
The blueliner also talked about his conversation he had on Friday with General Manager Peter Chiarelli.
"He just said that it's just the business aspect of it," said Bartkowski. "They like my play, they want me here, it's just part of the game."
The defenseman admitted that he felt relieved to be remaining in the spoked-B, a natural feeling having been with Boston the past week and working with management and coaches for the past three years. Though, he did acknowledge that being included in a potential trade for Iginla isn't a bad sign.
"I guess it's a pretty cool feeling to know that I have the potential, at least they think I have the potential, to be a pretty good player in the future."
"I look at it in a way, where no matter what, somebody wants you, you're good enough that you're considered, so certainly wouldn't take it as an insult," Coach Julien said, when asked about Bartkowski. "To get that kind of player [in Iginla], you had to give up something good. That's what he [Bartkowski] is, he's a good player."
Having suited up in two games so far for Boston this season, and 11 total in his career, the defenseman finally feels he's at a point where he's ready for the NHL game - something the B's also noticed, as they signed him to a one-year, one-way (the first one-way contract of his career) contract extension on March 26.
"It's very easy, I feel good in practice, I felt good last game," he said. "I'm ready to play in the league now, where as before I had some things I needed to work on. I feel ready, mentally and physically."
As for any impending nervousness from Bartkowksi, or the rest of the Bruins, around this time, as the April 3 deadline looms, Coach is trying to keep his team focused.
"We're going to do our best to kind of try and push that aside. They're all pros, every year we go through the same thing," said Coach. "Other teams are going through the same thing as well, so we're no different than anybody else. There's no doubt we feel it."
"Maybe we feel it a little bit more because guys love being here in Boston, and that's a good sign."
No Iggy, No Biggie
It was inevitable that Coach Julien and the Bruins would be asked about Jarome Iginla Friday after practice, their first day being available to media since the trade. But the players and their Coach obviously didn't see there being much of a story. As such, they spoke about their respect for the great player, but tried to put the focus on their own team, and the guys currently on the roster.
"Not much to say, except you think you got a player, looking forward to it, but then when it doesn't happen – I'm still one of those guys that believes we've got a real good team here," said Coach Julien. "Just because we haven't played our best lately doesn't make us less of a team. My belief is we'll get better here and we'll move on. There's nothing you can do about it."
"I can guarantee you that there's no deflation here. We're a good team, our guys believe in themselves in there."
"Would he have made our team better? Sure. We know what he brings, but we're still a good team. We've got good chemistry in that dressing room right now, we're very comfortable with what we're going to move forward with and we'll get the most out of everybody because they're committed to it."
David Krejci, Andrew Ference, Patrice Bergeron and Dennis Seidenberg were among the B's who spoke to media in the locker room after practice, and were asked about the trade - all said they obviously respect the veteran's decision, but were focused on their own room more than what was going on with Iginla and Pittsburgh's "Stanley Cup push."
"No, when?" joked Seidenberg when asked if he had been following along with news of the trade, before adding, "That was his choice in the end, we have to respect that. Felt like he wanted to go there, you have to respect that, that's about it."
"We turned the page," said Coach. "It's about us right now, not about him."