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Thursday Wakeup Call: Jarome Iginla … oh, for real

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, lunatics …

>> The weekly chat will take place today at noon, as always. There will be a difference, though, as the live chat platform will be moved right here to the blog. It’s the post right above this.

>> And it’s not like we won’t have much to discuss …

>> Wow.

While Pittsburgh slept, Ray Shero most assuredly did not, acquiring Jarome Iginla, nothing less than Calgary’s all-time leading scorer and franchise treasure, at 1:30 a.m. this morning.

One of the biggest trades in Pittsburgh sports history, and how many of us were awake?

There are all kinds of layers to this, obviously.

Let me start with this: The lifelong hockey fan in me is uncomfortable with Iginla wearing another uniform. He had a chance to be a lifer in one city, and I never like seeing that change, especially with someone who carries himself in the manner Iginla does.

That said, as Flames GM Jay Feaster told reporters in the wee hours, he approached Iginla because of his no-trade clause, and Iginla had to clear not only a trade but also a team. He’s never won a Cup, and he evidently feels it’s time to do that.

Obviously, a ton of ground here to cover, so I’ll bullet some random thoughts:

>> Lines are going to have to be determined not only by Dan Bylsma but also by a lot of the athletes involved. I’ll repeat that the locker room is going to need to be cool with all aspects of this, and that especially goes with the first line.

If I had to guess, I’d say Iginla goes with Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis. That allows Chris Kunitz to move back alongside Evgeni Malkin and James Neal, like last year.

Brenden Morrow then moves into a complimentary role or as a fill-in on the top six if/when anyone is hurt.

>> Speaking of Morrow, might be worth checking with Elias to see if any NHL team has ever acquired two team captains in the same week.

>> For anyone who doesn’t know who this player is …

>> This team had better win. Everything.

>> Here’s a bunch of randomness from Shero’s middle-of-the-night conference call: “This is something we’ve been talking over the past couple of weeks. I stayed in touch with Jay the last couple of days. I talked with him this afternoon and later tonight. I was just waiting to hear back from him. … Jarome is a guy we looked at even after adding Morrow and Murray. With this increased cap space, we had options. … I just talked to him a little while ago. It’s a big change, obviously. No different than Morrow. A lot of emotion. …  Not any talks for extension. Nor have they brought it up. … The great thing about a guy like Jarome is he wanted to come to Pittsburgh. He said he is accepting of any role. … Dan has over a month to find that chemistry. Names on paper don’t mean much. It will be important to perform on the ice.”

>> Feaster said Iginla will remain in Calgary this morning to address reporters and the public there one last time. That means, of course, he won’t be arriving here today, but it’s absolutely the right thing to do.

>> I’ve interviewed Iginla a handful of times, including two one-on-ones in Calgary a while back. Total class, always smiling, friendly.

>> I’ve asked our beat man Josh Yohe to summarize the prospects the Penguins gave up, and he emailed this back to share with you: “Hard to explain how little the Penguins gave up for Iginla. These are not elite prospects. Not even close.”

Josh also wrote up these capsules:

Kenny Augustino, 5th round pick in 2010: A skilled forward who the Penguins thought might someday have a chance to play in the NHL. Scored 15 goals at Yale last season. Penguins liked him, didn’t love him, and never considered him to be anything resembling an elite prospect.

Ben Hanowski, 3rd round pick in 2009 draft: Numbers regressed noticeably during his senior year at St. Cloud State this season. Most goals he ever scored in a college season was 23. Has 16 this season. Penguins viewed him as a reasonably talented power forward prospect. Big kid at 6-2, 210. But, like D’Augustino, was not considered an adequate prospect, but absolutely not an elite one.

>> Cutting through it all: Neither of these two prospects ranked among the Penguins’ internal top 10. No kidding.

And a first-round Pittsburgh pick will be somewhere between No. 28-30.

Shero basically acquired a Hall of Famer for nothing.

>> Anyone else wonder if Iginla chose the Penguins over the Bruins?

I found it pretty striking in Feaster’s news conference that, when Calgary reporters asked about all the — amazingly definitive — reports that Iginla was Boston-bound, Feaster replied that it had had to be a joint decision.

Worth monitoring.

>> I covered this in Vancouver …

>> The Bruins must now hate Shero more than they ever hated Ulf Samuelsson.

>> Wonderful trade coverage in the Calgary Herald.

>> And in the Calgary Sun.

>> And, oh, yeah: The Penguins go for 14 tonight vs. Winnipeg, and they’ll do so without Kris Letang. I’ll be at Consol for the skate this morning, as well as the game.

Rob Rossi, Josh and I will be bringing you an awful lot more on this in the next 24 hours.

>> Wow.

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Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.

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