By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — Hockey fans in New England are understandably a bit cranky on Thursday, and it’s hard to blame them.

They hit the sheets Wednesday night with visions of Jarome Iginla in a black and gold sweater, skating on the top line next to David Krejci and leading a late-season push toward the top of the Eastern Conference standings. And as they groggily sleepwalked to the bathroom to freshen up their pearly whites, they did so with a bit of an energy boost knowing that the Bruins had added a Hall of Fame winger to the roster … only to have the rug completely swept out from under them when they learned that Iginla had opted to go to Pittsburgh instead of Boston.

So if you’re walking around Boston on Thursday and see anyone who looks grumpy and unapproachable, well, it might seem like a normal day in Boston. But today, people have reason to be ticked off.

But rather than sit by idly and let bitterness spread throughout the area, I’m here to do my best to help us all understand why Iginla made his decision to pass over the famed spoked-B in favor of the golden-upside-down-triangle-backed-Penguin-taking-a-slap-shot. As someone who grew up in and around Boston and as someone who just completed a weekend trip to Pittsburgh in early February, I believe I am the foremost expert on such matters, so without further ado, here is every possible scenario for why Iginla opted for the Keystone State over the Bay State.

His Brother May Be Getting Married In Pittsburgh
Just a total shot in the dark here, as I don’t even know if Iginla has any siblings, but this is the reason I went to Pittsburgh, so it stands to reason that Iginla could be going to Pittsburgh for the same thing. And if so, family always comes first. No complaints here.

Smoking Allowed In Bars/Cheap Beer On East Carson Street
By far, the biggest shock for me in my trip to Pittsburgh was that smoking was still allowed in bars. I don’t smoke, and I imagine a 16-year NHL vet like Iginla probably stays away from tobacco as well, but still, stepping into the Primanti Brothers cigar bar was like stepping back into time. Granted, Boston’s only been smoke-free for about a decade, but it seems like a hundred years ago, and the trip to Pitt brought me back to a better time. It was a time before people on Twitter prematurely declared trades to be done, back when human beings actually spoke to each other rather than sit side-by-side on their smartphones playing Draw Something, and back when you could get five beers for 10 bucks. Well, you can still do that in Pittsburgh, and considering Jarome is kind of old, it makes sense that he’d like to recapture the spirit of the ’90s.

Plus, you cannot deny that Yuengling has a cult following and can’t be found anywhere in Boston. There’s an appeal there. It’s a factor.

Jarome Is 110 Percent Aboard The Pirates Bandwagon … Choo-choo!

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, the Pittsburgh Pirates are back! They won 79 games last season, which may not seem like a lot, but it was their highest win total since 1997 (and you already know Jarome loves the ’90s) and they haven’t won more than 79 games since 1992. Holy moly. Now, they’ve got Andrew McCutchen on the cover of video games and in commercials, they’ve got the most beautiful ballpark in the bigs, and they still have arguably some of the coolest get-ups and team nicknames in sports. I mean, they’re the Pirates. You can’t mess with that, really.

Plus, they beat the Red Sox in a three-game series back in June of 2011, when the Red Sox were supposed to be the greatest team ever assembled. You think Jarome is just going to forget an embarrassment like that? Kind of hard to go to Boston when you know the mighty 2011 Red Sox can’t beat the 72-90 Pirates, you know?

He’s Going To Seek Out Bane … And Join His Side
The biggest and baddest scene in The Dark Knight Rises last year came when the villain, Bane, held Heinz Field hostage and managed to make every football player except for Hines Ward (damn!) disappear into a rapidly forming sinkhole in the middle of the field. It’s the type of scene that gets people out of their houses and to the movie theaters, and it’s the type of scene you don’t forget.

For Iginla, I fear it may have been a recruiting video, and I think he’s ready to join the fight against Batman and all that is good in the world. It’s sad to see, but at the same time, Tom Hardy is completely awesome and I’d love to run with his crew any day.

He Wants To Live Closer To Cleveland
Because … who wouldn’t?

He’s Still Mad At Tim Thomas For Whatever Went On In This Picture

Jarome Iginla and Tim Thomas (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

Jarome Iginla and Tim Thomas (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

Seriously, do you have any clue what is happening here? Where is Tim Thomas’ head? How many legs does Tim Thomas have? I’d still be holding a grudge too if I were Iginla. That’s ridiculous.

Animal Appeal
Bears are cool and intimidating and fierce and scary and all of that, but come on — is there a cooler animal on earth than a Penguin? Coming from Calgary, where I’ll roughly estimate the average winter temperature to be about negative-30 degrees Fahrenheit, wouldn’t you be naturally drawn to a Penguin? Plus, just look at that little fella, taking a big, hard slap shot and everything. Adorable! Can I move to Pittsburgh, too?

Jarome Iginla and Sidney Crosby (Photo by Mike Ridewood/Getty Images)

Jarome Iginla and Sidney Crosby (Photo by Mike Ridewood/Getty Images)

Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Dan Bylsma
Oh, right. The real reasons. The Penguins are absolutely stacked and are probably going to win the Stanley Cup. Mystery solved. The end.

Read more from Michael by clicking here, or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.


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