Transcript: Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli Media Availability 3/28
/ Boston Bruins
General Manager Peter Chiarelli held media availability today at TD Garden at 2:00 p.m., following the trade between Calgary and Pittsburgh that sent Jarome Iginla to the Penguins in exchange for Ben Hanowski, Kenny Agostino and a 2013 first-round draft pick. Below, please find the transcript from the media availability.
Opening Statement... Normally don’t do this until the trade deadline, but I figured in light of what happened over the last couple of days that we wanted to apprise our fans, first and foremost, as to what went on, and obviously the media, just to give you the chronology of events and to answer some questions. I think for deal of this magnitude, for our fans to know what we’re up to, you do a great job of doing that electronically and in print, face-to-face and what not, but I wanted to take this opportunity to let the fans know what went on.
Of course, I’m talking about the Jarome Iginla trade. First, let me say this first about some of the characters involved. I’ve known Jay Feaster, the general manager of the Flames, for 15-20 years and I have nothing but good things to say about him. He’s a gentleman. I don’t know Jarome, but obviously being from Canada, I followed him closely over the years, and obviously his career speaks for itself. And I saw the press conference.
A couple of weeks ago, we engaged in some discussions with Calgary regarding Iginla, that we had interest in acquiring him, and they went and got a list of I don’t know how many number of teams, but Jay told me shortly after, a few weeks ago, that we were on a very small list. We had a couple, two or three, conversations regarding a trade. I was assured that the list was of teams that he would go to and waive his no-trade. A few days before that, we had submitted a firm offer, with those two players: Alexander Khokhlachev and Matt Bartkowski, who were in the offer. I’ll talk about those guys in a second. We were informed around noon yesterday that we had the player, we won the sweepstakes, so to speak. He just had to talk to Jarome and his agent regarding the logistics of everything.
From that point on, there had been some discussions regarding Jarome taking some time, not to decide, but to kind of let things soak in. Then, we had our game and prior to that, we made moves, as did they. They scratched Jarome. We made moves scratching Bart and Koko, who was playing with Providence. We brought up Torey [Krug]. We relied on the fact that we had a deal. Now, these things happen all the time, more than you know, about deals going south for whatever reason. We believed we had a deal. We operated under the premise of a deal. When things were silent, I obviously, in my experience, know that if things go silent it means that something is going screwy from your end. And it was. Later that night, around quarter to 12, I got a call from Jay saying that it was the player’s choice and he opted to go to Pittsburgh and we were out.
So, that’s it in a nutshell. I’ll try and answer the questions to the best of my ability. I know you’re going to have a bunch of them on the events in between, and I may tell you some things, I may not. Those two players are good players, Bart and Koko, and we’ve talked to them today, talked about the reality of hockey and all that stuff. And we look forward to having them in our group. I think you can see Bart growing in front of us as a player and you’ll see Alexander soon. There it is in a nutshell. Reality is that these things happen and it happened to us. We will continue to try to improve our team. We’re in a lot of these deals, and we feel that we can improve our team. We have some days left and opportunity to try and to do it. If you have any questions, I’ll try my best.
Questions and Answer Session with Media...
On what the emotion is after losing a deal of that magnitude... It’s tough. I mean, we’re talking about a really good player. It’s like on July 1, when you’re trying to sign a player and you’re the last one or two, or three. I think you try to convince the player, while we couldn’t talk to the player in this instance, and you don’t get him, there’s a high then a real low. You know what? You get used to it. This kind of stuff happens. It shouldn’t, but it does. The reality of no-movement and no-trade clauses, it’s going to happen more. But, it’s a disappointment, but you get back on your horse and you go out there and find some more players.
On if he thinks this was a matter of Iginla wanting to play with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in Pittsburgh... I think, at the end of the day, that’s what it was. I wouldn’t do anything differently. We put a heck of an offer forward. I don’t care what anyone says about those two players, they’re good players.
On if he has any idea if the approved list the Bruins were on was an ordered list and if so, does he feels like he was "hoodwinked"... I guess, initially, you feel that way. I’ve been around for a while, I’ve seen things happen that are similar to this. It happens. We were on the list, and you assume that once you come up with a deal you’re going to get the player, so that’s what I was operating under.
On what his 'Plan B' is... There’s players out there, and we’re in on players. There’s always other players, and that was a good player, that was a real good player. There’s always other players. The circumstances change, as far as, from the [salary] cap perspective for next year. It’s going down, so you have to look – it makes rentals a little bit more valuable this year to a group of teams, including ourselves. So, you have to be a little bit more creative, then you have to open up your decision process to more things and take it from there.
On why the deal wasn’t finalized during the hours that went quiet... Well, I’m not going to answer that specifically, but according to, I guess they – I don’t want to put words in Calgary organization’s collective mouth - But, I assume that it’s because of the magnitude of the player that Jarome was for their organization, they wanted to give him some space on this. That’s all I can say on that.
On if there was any chance to suggest a contract extension to Iginla... No, no there was never an opportunity to do that, in any form.
On if it was Feaster that told him they had a deal yesterday at noon... Yes.
On if at that point whether or not Feaster told him they were going to go back to Iginla to talk... It was kind of along those lines. They wanted to give him – what I’ll tell you, is that they wanted to give him some time because he’s such a great player for their organization. Obviously, stuff happened that I’m not privy to.
On if they told him at noon that they were going to go back to Iginla and let him make the ‘last tag’ decision... 'Last tag' was not how it was characterized to me.
On if they gave him a time that they would get back to him... It was - we all agreed to scratch our players. It was just kind of the normal progression. In these deals, in these trades, there’s a lot of things that happen, especially trades of this magnitude. I was part of one, bigger one, in Ottawa, with the [Alexei] Yashin-[Zdeno]Chara one. And we’ve had some big ones here. You have to go to ownership, there’s a lot of moving parts here. Certainly wasn’t like, ‘okay, boom, you guys are the team. You guys win, let’s do it in five minutes.’ That happens, by the way, sometimes, deals of lesser magnitude. It didn’t in this case. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.
On if he had any doubt that this would get done at noon yesterday... No, no. No doubt, no. But as time went on, the doubt started to grow.
On how many hours of silence there were and when he felt he needed to call Calgary back... Well, I called them, on a number of occasions, talked to them.
On if it was 2 o’clock, 5 o’clock... This happened at noon. At around five Eastern - and I’ve talked to the Calgary, Jay [Feaster], between five Eastern - and it’s kind of radio silence. So, that’s when I started, and I know obviously, something is going on here. There’s obviously - I make efforts to call and all that, but when nothing gets returned, you know that something is going on.
On if he got the sense that maybe Feaster knew what was going on... No, I don’t think so. I don’t think so. I don’t think there was anything nefarious on Jay’s part, no.
On if the final offer included a conditional first round pick... No. Firm [first-round pick].
On if their offer was better than Pittsburgh’s... I’m not going to get into that.
On if in this kind of a situation the other GM called to let them know there was a problem... He did. But, with all due respect, I’m not going to share it with you.
On players with no-movement clauses making the final decision on trades… It’s hard. We’ve traded a player with a no-move, Derek Morris, it’s hard. It’s really hard, because you’ve acquired this player, and then you’re not just trading him outright without having a discussion with him. It’s hard. Generally speaking, the growing number of no-trades makes it hard, but you have to go through the steps. It’s not impossible. You have to go through the steps, and there’s a number of steps, and you’ve got to be relatively transparent between yourself and the agent, and it’ll get done. It’s not impossible, but it’s hard.
On if Matt Bartkowski and Alexander Khokhlachev knew that they were a part of the deal… I didn’t say that. I said that the ones that everyone’s talking about were the ones, and they were scratched. So they didn’t know, but in today’s world, it’s hard not to know, or at least expect something, with everybody on their phones, with Twitter.
On if the deal falling through affects the mentality of the team… I didn’t see their comments regarding that. I haven’t seen any of their comments yet today. But I don’t know. I can only assume that they’re tapped in as you people are, myself included, electronically. I don’t know. I think everyone gets nervous this time of year anyways. But we’re trying to improve our team, and I know they know that. We’ve done it before, and we’re going to try to do it again.
On how he views the Penguins after their recent additions… They’re a good team.
On if there was anything else the organization could have done to make the deal happen… Let me get this clear. No one’s talked to Jarome. I didn’t talk to Jarome. We never talked to anybody on it, other than the manager on the actual trade. So to answer your question, no, there’s nothing we could have done to convince him.
On if he would have liked the opportunity to speak with Jarome Iginla… I did ask for that opportunity, and I didn’t get it.
On if it is permissible for teams to talk with potential acquisitions… If you give permission, yes.
On Boston being a destination for players recently… Here’s what I think. I think that Pitt, and God bless them because I like Ray Shero and the whole group there, Pitt has been on this amazing run, and we’ve been in and out a little bit lately. We’re a very good team, and I think as the wind blows in the last couple of days, I think that’s how it goes.
On what he thinks of the Bruins right now… Last night was, if you’re not a manager or a coach, it was a highly entertaining game. It was great to see the guys loosen up a bit from a scoring perspective, our end of the ice notwithstanding. We’ve got stuff to work on. It’s hard to work on things when you don’t have a lot of practice time. You value rest and recovery greater than the practice time. Being patient with these dips is one thing in a full season, being patient with them in a pressed season, when you have to have this rest and recovery time, is difficult. But you still have to be patient because you know, you trust in your players. They’re a good team. We have to be better in a number of areas, but we’re getting points, and we also know that the prize is after the regular season. We’re committed to fixing these things. I’m committed to trying to improve the team also.
On if he thinks he can get the pieces he wants in one trade… I don’t know. I’ve got a lot of marks up on my board right now. It’s like a yard sale up there.
On if he has swayed on whether it’s more important to add a forward or a defenseman… I’d like to add one of both, and that’s kind of been my position from the beginning.
On if he has a priority between adding a forward or a defenseman, depending on the Bruins' performance… No, when we have a bad defensive game, I don’t think ‘ah, we need a defenseman,’ or ‘we can’t score, we need a forward.’ It’s been pretty consistent throughout.
On if it’s difficult to add a player under contract for next year with the salary cap decreasing… It’s easier, or less difficult, to keep your same core and not stray from that. But I’m open to all avenues to improve the team. We’ve got a lot of tools we can work with. The path of least resistance is the one you referred to earlier, regarding just adding a rental player. That’s kind of been my path for a while this year. That may have to change now.
On if he has spoken to Matt Bartkowski and Alexander Khokhlachev since yesterday’s events… I haven’t talked to them yet. I plan on talking to Bart [Matt Bartkowski] tomorrow, Koko [Alexander Khokhlachev], we’ve talked to his agent, and I’ll see him along the way in Providence.
On what he plans to tell Bartkowski and Khokhlachev… You tell them that, you guys are good players, we still like you, and you’re an important part of our future. And you move on.
On what it would be like to play the Penguins in the playoffs… They’re a real good team. You’ve seen our games against them. I would welcome it. I think when we’re going, we play a really good game that matches up well against them, we’re shutting them down and playing a heavier game. Notice I say heavier game, you see what they’ve added too, they’ve added heavier players. They know what it takes. Again, I’m not laying down for them, but they know what it takes.
On if he is still confident that the Bruins can contend for the Cup with their current roster… I’m confident that we’re a serious contender. I think we can win with our team, but I think we have to be improved. There’s a lot of luck involved. You have to have everyone clicking. We have an ability to add players, but it’s been the hardest that I’ve ever seen it in my years, just because of the short supply.