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My brother dropped 40 bones on one of those cool NHL t-shirts last season... you know the ones -- they look like mini-jerseys all pimped out with a logo on the front and the name and number of your favorite player on the back. Bro-dude treated his #44 Chris Pronger t-shirt like a damn tuxedo - he wore it on dates for crying out loud. Now he uses it to wipe brake dust off his front rims, and he has nothing to wear to the bar.So, Pronger's pissed? Join the club, dude. On June 23rd, Chris Pronger unceremoniously made the most suspicious trade request in the 32-year history of the Edmonton Oilers organization. Four days after game seven of the Stanley Cup final. What exactly did Chris expect the fallout would be in a city that was still drunk on Stanley Cup beer? A pat on the ass? Best of luck? Give your wife our best?I dropped out of psychology in university because I saw no point in trying to make sense of nonsense. But the fact that Chris does not understand the fan reaction in Edmonton this summer is as mind boggling as his trade request. IT DIDN'T MAKE SENSE. How could a 31-year old former NHL captain get within two goals of his first Stanley Cup and then walk away from it all? We're still not sure. But you can't blame passion for looking for an answer. And passion is what this comes down to. Chris is right when he says that the rumours surrounding his departure were pure insanity. But so was Oil Country for the six weeks ending June 19th. If Oiler fans were capable of such insane levels of support, why then, is it a surprise that insane levels of speculation would follow a request that no sane individual could comprehend?Now, I'm not saying that Chris is a bad dude. We all have issues in our lives that may perplex others, but seem completely reasonable in our own minds, so this blog is
not about ripping Chris for doing what he did. But Chris' feelings are hurt? C'mon dude.A word to the wise: Careful what you wish for, Chris, because after 6 months in Anaheim, you'll be wishing people cared enough to burn your old furniture.
Now, this is exactly what I'm thinking about the whole Pronger thing....taken from the Journal.
As revealed in Hall of Fame hockey writer Jim Matheson's interview with ex-Oilers defenceman Chris Pronger in Tuesday's Journal, Pronger still doesn't get it. He spoke with some heat to Matheson about the ire of the Edmonton fans as if he had nothing to do with their feeling betrayed. Amazing.
To sum up: This guy is traded to Edmonton, asks for and is given a five-year deal for $6 million and change a year, moves to Edmonton where he buys a home, walks the walk of the Big Man on Campus for an entire season and playoffs. Days after Game 7, he requests a trade, leaves town with no explanation at all, disappears on vacation. By way of his agent, he lets it be known that maybe his wife, Lauren, is the engine of all this. Not happy in isolated Edmonton. Oh dear. Rumors swirl, some of them scurvy, damaging ones, to many more people than just Pronger. The big defenceman sends word, via his agent, that he is displeased with all the tittle-tattle. He pledges to hold a news conference to clear the air. No mention that his own silence has provided precisely the vacuum that will be filled with gossip, particularly in the absence of a more reasonable explanation for his trade demand. He is traded. He then holds a conference call during which he categorically refuses to explain his departure, except to say it was a family decision and a personal one. Nobody else's business. No apology to those in Edmonton who have been hurt by the rumors his own silence and irresponsible behavior helped create. It develops that, via his agent, he had made it known to Oilers management as early as mid-season that he wasn't happy in the Heartland of Hockey. Which, doing the math, means that Pronger and family, who moved here in late summer 2005, had all of five or so months to conclude Edmonton was not for them. Which doesn't seem like much of a try-on, especially for a guy who insisted on a long-term contract to begin with. So now, out there in Anaheim, Pronger remains miffed that many fans feel irked that he bolted their city. He glibly suggests that "fans are fickle, it's the nature of the beast." What arrogance!
The nature of this situation is the fans welcomed Pronger as the centrepiece player of the franchise they so passionately care for. They were thrilled when he delivered a brilliant regular season and an utterly spectacular playoffs. None of them saw his sudden departure coming. Unlike, say, the departure of Peca, who could be rightly criticized for indifferent play in the first half of the year, but not for being dishonest about his one-year tenure in Edmonton. And for Pronger to compare his one-and-done situation with the departures of Messier, Coffey, Kurri, Anderson, Lowe and the rest is fatuous nonsense. Those Oilers greats, as everyone knows, were nurtured within the organization, became stars here, played here for years, winning clusters of Stanley Cups before leaving small-market Edmonton to earn fair-market value for their high-end talents. In Pronger's case, ironically, signing with Edmonton provided him with long-term financial security in the New NHL, while enabling him to make his home somewhere else. And, most galling of all, after all of this time, Pronger still has not come out and said precisely why he and his family had to leave Edmonton after one admittedly brilliant season. He remains in the weird world of denial only the spoiled sports or entertainment superstar seems to inhabit.