SUN Hockey Pool

D-man joins top telemarketers

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

Jarome Iginla didn't have the number at his fingertips when he made the call.

But now that Jay Bouwmeester is officially remaining property of the Calgary Flames, the captain expects more frequent talks.

"He will be on my speed-dial now," Iginla said by phone yesterday after Bouwmeester was introduced to the local media at the Saddledome.

"He might not want me on his, but I'm going to put him on mine now."

Calling Bouwmeester after the Flames acquired the 25-year-old defenceman in a draft-day deal with the Florida Panthers Saturday was pretty routine for the face of the franchise.

Iginla's made similar calls in the past during the free-agent blitz.

It doesn't always go as well as it did with his fellow Edmonton product.

"Some guys you talk to, and you feel like they're being polite," said Iginla.

"I've been on quite a few calls over the years. (Some) already have their heart leaning somewhere else."

He didn't get that feeling from Bouwmeester, who has spent six NHL seasons with the Panthers -- missing the playoffs every spring.

Thinking the Flames had a lot to offer and hoping to help convince what would have been one of the most sought-after free agents to put pen to paper before hitting the open market, Iginla had as good a feeling as Bouwmeester must have when they ended the call.

"You can kind of get a feel for what way the guy's leaning," Iginla said. "I felt he was genuinely excited about the possibility. It had a good feel about it. I was optimistic after talking to him.

"But until you actually see him signed ... "

That had the whole city hopping Tuesday night, when news broke Bouwmeester signed a five-year, $33-million contract with the Flames.

"I'm very excited," said fellow blueliner Dion Phaneuf from his summer home on Prince Edward Island.

"He's a top defenceman. I think he's really going to help our hockey team."

Another of the handful of Edmonton natives on the Flames roster, Phaneuf also picked up his phone to let Bouwmeester know he was excited about the possibility of uniting on the ice with his occasional off-season workout partner.

"I didn't talk to him on the phone. I talked to him through text messaging," Phaneuf said.

"To be honest with you, I didn't try to negotiate or help in the process. When we traded for him, I said I was really happy we got his rights and hopefully we get something done with him.

"It's great we did."

Robyn Regehr had a chat with his Team Canada 2006 Turin Games roommate when he heard the big news on the weekend.

"I'd heard from (goaltending coach and former Panther) Jamie McLennan that we'd traded for Jay's rights, and that maybe I should just give him a call and offer to answer any questions he has about our team," said Regehr.

"I just mentioned to him that I thought our team was real close at going to the next step. The next step is going deep into the playoffs and winning a championship.

"I thought he would be a really good piece of the puzzle, and a big part of that."

Apparently, Bouwmeester felt the same way.


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