Goodbye From Pittsburgh Matt Cooke and Jarome IginlaPosted: 07/07/2013
This is a story about two players. In fact, it’s really directed at these two players.
I certainly won’t claim to speak for the whole City of Pittsburgh or the whole of Penguins-nation, but I think I speak for a lot of us and I want to say thank you Matt Cooke and Jarome Iginla. You’ve both left for greener pastures now: Cooke has signed a 3-year, $7.5 million deal with the Minnesota Wild. And that’s great, that’s one more year and probably a million dollars per season more than the Penguins would have thought about offering you. And you deserve it.
We in Pittsburgh know you better than probably any other team in the NHL. We know full well what you’ve done in the NHL, but we also know who you are outside of the NHL, you are a father, a family man, a humanitarian, and a leader in the locker room and the community. You were paid to play the game a certain way, that doesn’t define who you are. So we say thank you for all the great moments, all the horrifying moments, and everything in between. Thanks for the Cup.
Jarome Iginla: Iggy, we aren’t spiteful, even if you did sign a contract with Boston. You’re the only right winger on their roster right now, they need you more than we do, we in Pittsburgh need Beau Bennett right now. We’re just sorry we couldn’t get you that Cup. We’re sorry no one let you play right wing in Pittsburgh, but it’s just tough. We need to look at stats a little bit: James Neal has scored 61 goals in his last 120 games on Evgeni Malkin’s right wing. Over the last two seasons you only have 46 goals and you played 126 games. And then there’s Pascal Dupuis, maybe the Penguins should have moved him and Kunitz around to put you on Sid’s wing, but I mean Duper was the leading goal scorer for the Pens in the postseason, something just seems wrong to do anything to screw with your leading scorer on your top line. And I know you aren’t bitter. You said as much when you addressed the media after you signed with Boston, and we in Pittsburgh believe you.
It would have been nice to come to terms on a new deal with you, but it was never going to work out. This was a run at the Cup and you knew it. Neither you nor the Penguins are getting any younger and that’s the biggest reason why you need to move onto another team. It’s just too bad that you won’t go down as a legend of Pittsburgh sports lore. And it’s too bad that everyone hopes you get “Hossa-ed” next season (including me), but, well, we do. You’ve moved on and there’s certainly no love lost for the Bruins, even if you play for them now.
So to Iggy and Cookie, goodbye and good luck.