Friday, June 23, 2006

Pronger trade rumours

So Chris Pronger wants out of Edmonton for "personal reasons," huh? As Battle of Alberta's Andy Grabia points out, this one has Al Strachan's grubby little fingerprints all over it, but it's disturbing how the story has picked up legs in the last 24 hours. The original Strachan blurb appeared yesterday and now TSN, Sportsnet, ESPN radio are reporting the rumour news.

Sources range from "NHL sources" to "a source close to the team" to "Sportsnet sources" but I'm not sure if it could be the same guy spreading the same bad information (that's journalism for ya!). Somewhat comforting is that Kevin Lowe actually called a talk show that Al Strachan was on to deny the rumour. Also, what the hell could Pronger be running from? A crazy megabitch stalker side-mistress? Where's Edmonton's media on this? Aren't they the ones that should be able to report whether Pronger isn't happy with the Oilers? Unlike Peca, Chris Pronger wasn't exactly giving off bad "trade me now" vibes and seems to fit in well as the natural leader of a Stanley Cup Final team. I guess it's wait and see...

But I think (hope?) it's a bogus rumour, or maybe a half-truth akin to MacT's "long walk in the snow" a couple of years ago when it seemed like he didn't want to re-sign as coach (of course he did, but wanted assurances from the GM and ownership that the team would be half-decent). And Al Strachan is an ass. Then again, I remember laughing in 1988 when I read a "Gretzky to be traded?" headline in the Edmonton Sun a few days before it actually happened. Man, did that suck...


Anonymous said...

Pronger is married with a kid. He's not a "Single Bachelor." This is family all over again. Gretzky, Nedved, Weight. Their friggin wifes like USA better. WORD TO THE WISE.. MARRY A CANADIAN!

Anonymous said...

To be fair Gretzky wasn't traded because of his wife, it was because Pocklington needed money

mike w said...

>Pronger is married with a kid. He's not a "Single Bachelor."

Talk about bad information. Oops. I'll change that sentence.

mike w said...

Also, I may be in denial, but I want to see what the Edmonton media scribes have to say about the trade rumours before I believe anything either way.

For guys that hang out with the team all season, local media should be able to tap some quality team sources on the Pronger deal.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Hard to say. Strachan started it definitely and everyone laughed. Garrioch had the same rumour this morning.

Hope its not but if it is then move him along. They can get a boatload for him.

Randy in the Med Hizzo said...

Terry Jones will likely fly back from the world cup to comment on it. Man that guy gets around. If I remember correctly he wrote his "Edmonton Aviators, You Suck" column while on vacation in Yellowstone.
Anyway, hey, there might a hint of truth there, but it doesn't sound right. I doubt it would happen tomorrow.
Follow me. Lowe would be pretty dumb to trade his biggest property (the only reason he still has a job to be honest) without a good reason and two days after locker cleanout.
And how bad does that look on Pronger "I hated playing on this team that missed winning the Stanley Cup by, like, two goals."
It would really put a dent in the concept of a new dawn, wouldn't it?

Chris said...

I just want to see Pronger embrace his team mates and say "Bros before hoes" to end this rumor.

Biff Johanssen said...

I heard a baseless rumour that Pronger's wife hates Edmonton. Maybe that's why he's allegedly fixing to leave?

Anonymous said...

I'm at work at the Post right now and the story on my page says he wants out because his family is unhappy. Important to note that he has not actually asked to be traded, but it's foreboding that he is currently on vacation and his agent isn't returning media calls.

Also, LUONGO to the CANUCKS?? Like we need another shark in the tank in this here NW division. Great acquisition, though.



Pleasure Motors said...

Well, yeah, but, is Luongo going to be playing behind a team that's any better than the Panthers were last year? I mean, Allen and probably Jovanoski are gone, Bertuzzi is gone, Morrison has evidently realized he isn't a number one centre, and Naslund looks a lot less effective without those two around him. Sure, there are the Sedins (and Carter if he returns), but this was a team that out-sucked the Oilers in the final stretch, and has or is set to lose a few other pieces of the puzzle.

I mean, I'd still prefer a Luongo-less Canucks, but I don't think he's the missing piece at this point. That changes a little if Jovo comes back, but they're still not an elite-level team either way.

Having said that, with Luongo, Cloutier and Noronen, how long do you think it is until Cloutier disappers for a winger?

Danson said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


eun said...

Well, if it means anything, CFRN's late local news is reporting that Pronger's agent has now confirmed the rumours. Bah. Hopefully they'll get some decent trade value. Should be interesting.

James Mirtle said...

Lauren Pronger's going to go down in infamy in Alberta if Prongs is moved out because of this (which it sounds like he will).

The Prongers actually have two sons.

mike w said...


This cannot be happening.

dragonshrimp said...

i've been on the oiler message board for a bit since i've heard the rumors. from what i gather, no one REALLY knows what the fuck is going on. everyone's just reading between the lines. apparently pronger asked for a trade earlier this year but kept quiet about it. that being said, Lowe has basically gone out on a limb saying there's no way they'd trade pronger. people's "inside sources" with the oilers indicate that pronger loves edmonton but his family doesn't or something. but sucks ass at the moment. again, no one knows what the fuck is going on. the local media have said shit.

Anonymous said...

Long post coming from a gutted Oiler fan looking for anything to grab onto, but several things still don't quite add up in this firestorm...

Not the least telling is that Strachan started the rumor. Course there is that broken clock / twice a day rule... Still, I'm hoping against hope this is nothing but a figment of Strachan's warped imagination as he tries to destroy the team he described just before the 2006 playoffs as the "most anti-player."

Then there's this Strickland character that claims he spoke to Pronger throughout the season, with Pronger relating personal / family reasons for being unhappy in Edmonton. Uh huh. Let's play along...

1. In an interview on the Team1260, Strickland indicated that during the season he took his Pronger "scoop" to the new St. Louis ownership group. Strickland said he told the ownership group that if they wanted Pronger back, they should start working on a package because Pronger would want out of Edmonton this summer. Whatever. This guy is obviously a delusional Blues fan disguised as a reporter. There's nothing in the St. Louis organization even remotely equitable in a trade for Pronger. Nothing. #1 overall draft pick? No sir, not good enough.

2. To top it off, as noted in the BoA comments, Strickland is on Eklund's blog. That alone is a credibility problem. There Strickland claims that Pronger will contact him *first* when he's ready to speak on the matter. Riiiiight...

3. Anyone else find it convenient that Strickland finally puts his name to this story on the first day that Pronger is unavailable all season?

So at worst Strickland is delusional. At best, he's tampering with another team's player (running to the Blue's ownership group).

Spector tips his hat to an update from "Matt", in which Pronger's agent reportedly met with KLowe and KPrendergast. According to Matt, the Oilers management was finally notified of Pronger's trade request. But now it was for personal AND professional reasons. Plot thickens...

So, we have two jokers (Strachan and Strickland), and "Matt". Anyone else convinced yet?

Oh right, where there's smoke, there's fire. (stole that from Strickland ;-). OK. Smoke==fire. Just like the smokescreen spewed by New Jersey sources that Wayne Gretzky knew about Tocchet's alleged gambling ring. Funny how that turned out to be false once people started questioning things...

The only footage or tape that's been aired from the parties involved has been from Lowe, denying that Pronger asked him for a trade (Matt's meeting theoretically occurred after that). Nothing from Pat Morris on tape. Nothing on camera.

There's enough reasons to question the news thus far. On the other hand, Mark Spector (actual name, unlike "Spector") says from experience with Pat Morris, if a rumor is untrue, Morris attempts to douse the rumor with a fire hose. On Team1260 "TotalSports" he indicated that Morris has made no effort to deny the rumor. So that lends it some credence. D'oh.

Time will tell whether Pronger has played his last game as an Oiler. I certainly hope not. I haven't felt this bad as an Oiler fan since Aug. 9, 1988 (for those young-ins out there, Wayne Gretzky was sold to the Kings on that black day). There was no replacing Wayne, no fair value trade. The same is true of Pronger. And it came out of left field, like this speculation. The ramifications of a Pronger trade would potentially be even worse than the Gretzky sale. In '88 at least the Oil still had several greats and future Hall of Famers to cushion the blow. From a development perspective, who else can teach Greene like Pronger could? What FA would want to sign here? The Oilers have 9 UFAs of their own, nevermind attracting players from elsewhere. All in all, this would be devastating for the team.

Here's hoping Pronger himself eventually trashes all this like he flipped Cleary and countless others. That said, let Pronger have his vacation with his family. Some quotes from Morris will have to suffice for now. Get a microphone in front of that agent already.

- Rod

Anonymous said...

Aw crap. For the gutted but in denial like me, there's less to grab onto... Body Blow

Only point I disagree with, *if true* (I'm in denial remember), is the idea of a first overall pick and a warm body providing sufficient compensation. Doesn't bode well for this coming season, or the next few, compared to the outlook a scant two days ago. First overall pick is not nearly sufficient. Certainly doesn't say much about Pronger's commitment to winning if he goes back there...

*If* Pronger is traded, the terribly unbalanced schedule may work well for him. If Pronger goes East, we'd only get to shower our affections on him once every three years. Nice.

- Rod

Colby Cosh said...

Yeah, with the first overall pick we could take Johnson, who might be as good as Pronger in 2010 or so. Yippee.

MacPhisto said...

Look, Pronger is an ass anyway. Always was, always will be, a classless punk, though a great defenseman.

Garnet said...

My initial malicious thought is, what's the worst situation we could deal him into? Could we get Rick Nash for him right now? Then stick him in Columbus. (There are even worse situations, but I wouldn't trade the Orbs for anyone in Chicago or _everyone_ in Chicago. And the idea of him wasting his career there somehow makes me smile.) Oh, and I love today's Globe story, stating that he "may want to be closer to his eastern Canada roots. He was born in Dryden, Ont. ..." Does Grant Kerr know where Dryden is? The only close option is the Wild, which is a nightmare scenario for Pronger as well as Oilers fans.

Garnet said...

Note the song you singled out on Pronger's iTunes list in the previous post. Prophecy?

Anonymous said...

I had the exact same "stickin' it to him, worst situation" initial malicious thought. Ugh.


Paul O-the O stands for Sports said...

You know, Everyone here is talking about showering hate on a guy, but can you really fault him for having a wife who hates Edmonton and not wanting to move his kids around? I mean, there's lots about Edmonton to hate (The air quality, the weather, the rednecks), and I mean, he is a family guy. Also, he kept his distaste quiet through the season, and has yet to tank a season in a Vince Carter sort of way. UNtil Pronger does something truly worthy of hate, this one is feeling more like breaking up with a girl that you truly loved. Everytime it's brought up, i get that sick, break-up feeling in ym stomach, and while the waves of anger are there, it's hard to truly be upset with just about the Only reason for this year's cup run.

Anonymous said...

From Edmonton Sun columist Graham Hicks June 25, 2006


Wasn't that just the biggest kick in the teeth possible to the Oilers and fans?

Lauren Pronger, Chris Pronger's wife, happily chatted in this column about the family's habits and rituals through the playoffs, just 2 1/2 weeks ago.

Never in a million years would you have thought there was any unhappiness with being in Edmonton. She was cheerful, enthusiastic. Happy, she said, that Chris had signed a long-term contract so they could raise their two young children without disruption. I saw her again, leaving Raleigh's RBC Center after Game 7. We exchanged pleasantries. We'll talk again, we agreed.

I have no idea what personal reasons were at play in Chris and Lauren Pronger's lives. Perhaps there were such pressing family reasons as to justify such lack of commitment to a team and a city. Who has a clue what goes on in other people's private lives?

But on the surface, this is nothing more than a classic case of an individual putting self-interest far ahead of the greater good.

I'm told, from real estate sources, that the Prongers had already packed up their Edmonton home and had it up for sale before the end of the playoffs.

What a textbook example of the illness of our age, of self-absorption. It's all about me, as opposed to commitment, honour, putting team ahead of self. In short, doing what's right.

Pronger had four years left in a contract that he was fully aware was the key to his new hockey club building a Stanley Cup contender.

That the building happened so much faster than was foreseen was testament to Pronger's talent. He is irreplaceable, a superstar.

By leaving the Oilers, he knowingly, deliberately and deeply hurts the team and its thousands of fans.

Personally, I'd have a tough time living with the consequences of an action like that.

He leaves Kevin Lowe and the Oilers in a lurch. The team's attractiveness to other players is hugely diminished without Pronger dominating the back end. He knows that.

By leaving, Pronger puts the boots to the city's self-esteem.

Lowe is back to the problem of attracting players to a city that is clawing its way back to some national and continental status as an attractive place to live.

Pronger's dismissive attitude doesn't help. The effects of his decision on a city probably didn't even cross Pronger's mind.

Pronger shows that hockey players are right back to their pre-lockout tricks. The mighty me, closely followed by the almighty dollar, outweighs notions of honour, commitment, direct and indirect friendship.

Yes, it's a business. Yes, general managers can just as often mislead or betray their players for the sake of a deal.

That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about any human being's obligation to fulfil promises made, no matter how inconvenient those promises may turn out to be.

"I'm so angry," says my friend Sam Siffledeen up at Don Cherry's Sports Grill, who happened to call yesterday. "I was almost back to liking these guys. Now I'm back to hating over-paid athletes. Isn't it tiring, all this whimpering and sniffling?

"Thank God for the Eskimos," says Sam. "At least they play for love of the game. And they stick around."

Paul O-the O stands for Sports said...

He knows that Jason Maas asked out this winter, right?

Anonymous said...

@Paul O-tosfs: You're kidding right? Maas trade request == Pronger trade request? Puuulease.

- 2001: Maas earns team MVP honours--Esks lose Western Final
- 2002: Frito Ray gets a chance due to Maas shoulder injury--Esks lose Grey Cup
- 2003: Off-season back surgery sidelines Maas. Frito again #1 (and is the beneficiary of playing on an outstanding team) -- Esks win Cup
- 2004: Frito bolts for the NFL--Maas resumes #1 position. Maas again earns team MVP honours (and passes for over 5000 yards, joining Moon as the only Edmonton QBs to reach that level). Unfairly receives blame for team record and team loss in playoffs.
- 2005: Frito returns, and Maas again relegated to #2. Despite serious problems on offence (e.g. several games with no more than one touchdown), Maas doesn't even get a snap until game 18! Maas comes off the bench to save the game in the western semi, and the final. Esks win Cup in OT, thanks in no small part to Maas.

Mid-season 2005, Maas apparently asked to be traded after the 2005 season for the chance to be a #1 QB. Interestingly, this request is not leaked to the media...

How in any way, shape, or form does that equate to Pronger begging to be "freed" from Edmonton?

A few obvious differences:
- Maas excelled in Edmonton for more than a measly season
- Maas helped his team win the Cup
- Maas did not ask for a five year contract less than a season before asking to be traded
- Maas did not command the highest salary in team history
- Maas did not poison the environment in Edmonton--hoping to force a trade--by leaking trade demands to the media. Completely opposite in fact. Despite earning team MVP every time he was the #1 QB, Maas reportedly never made a display of frustration over lack of playing time. Simply didn't want to poison the team atmosphere. Sure Pronger kept quiet during the season, but a few days into the off-season, and the leaks started flowing.
- team management was not trying to build a Cup winner around him
- Maas' only option for more playing time was a trade (either himself, or Frito). I happen to think the Esks made the wrong choice...but that's beside the point. This stunt was Pronger's only option? Ridiculous.

Most interesting difference:
The Maas family loves the Edmonton area so much, it will be their off-season home. Maas' wife started in a business in the Edmonton area. As a result, she couldn't move to Hamilton. During the season, they're living in different cities. Somehow, even without a 6.25 million dollar contract, they're making their family situation work. He's getting to live his dream (as a #1 QB), and she's following hers. It's not ideal, but they're trying.

There's got to be a way to make the situation work without backing out of deal, screwing a franchise and teammates, and flipping the bird to fans.

I'm holding out hope (still in denial...) that Pronger will come back from vacation and announce that this was blown out of proportion. That while a trade may help certain family issues, there's no demand. He's perfectly happy to play for Edmonton and work with his teammates to bring a Cup to Oil Country... The only intent was to say he'd waive his no-trade clause if the Oilers found a deal (he has a no-trade...right?).

The whole "house already for sale" thing kinda puts a wrench in that scenario...but I'm in denial...

- Rod (FWIW, different 'anonymous' than the Hicks article poster...)

Paul O-the O stands for Sports said...

My point was that the eskimos, who play for the love of the game, also ask out of the city. If anything, Maas had more to keep him here than Pronger did. Also, Pronger did not beg to be let out of the city (at least, not yet), nor did he command a 5 year deal or the hgihest salary in team history. These are things Lowe gave him, and also, pronger now looks tremendously underpaid over the next few seasons (assuming revenue keeps going up). wait til Chara signs for something ridiculous like 8.5mil/year this off-season.
I too think that this is being blown a bit out of proportion, for example, Pronger did not "demand" to be traded, but the request was made. Also, he does not have a no-trade clause. Maybe you should look into the facts of the situation before ranting about it.
Finally, comparing the Maas and pronger family situations is assanine. What works for my family doesn't necessarily work for yours, and the same can be said of Pronger's family. The 6.25 million makes all problems disappear theory doesn't even fly because is it really worth 6.25 million to have your wife divorce you? especially when she'd take half anyways?
There's so much that we don't/can't know about this situation that I can't believe how quick everyone is turning on Pronger for this. He clearly let Lowe know he was unhappy in edmonton mid-season, he also clearly kept quiet about it for a long time. We also don't know if he authorized his agent to make it public or if Morris did that on his own. We don't know whether this is about his wife, his kids, his parents or himself. I cvan't believe how quick this city turned on a guy who gave their them greatest moments in 16 years. Without Pronger, the Oil wouldn't have even made the playoffs! Yes, this hurts, but anyone who hates Pronger over this at this point is clearly overreacting, and needs to take a look at the entire picture.

Anonymous said...

@Paul O -- Talk about a mis-read...

First off, I wasn't saying / requesting / ranting that the Prongers live two time zones apart. Just that the Maas family found a way to make things work. Which led to this:
"There's got to be a way to make the situation work without backing out of deal, screwing a franchise and teammates, and flipping the bird to fans."

My writing sucks I guess, cuz that was the main point...and you didn't even mention it. BTW, my rant was at the Maas / Pronger comparison *you* made. Then I get raked for comparing them. Whatever.

>>...nor did he command a 5 year deal or the hgihest salary in team history.<<
So, you take issue with my assertion that Pronger commanded the highest salary in team history. Uh, who exactly ever received a higher contract in Oiler team history? Or are you taking issue with the word "command"? Geez, I didn't say he "ordered" the salary... Try the dictionary:
Command: 4. To deserve and receive as due; exact: The troops' bravery commanded respect.

Did Pronger ask for the five year deal? According to Pat Laforge, he did:
- Laforge: "He (Pronger) only had a year left on his deal and we re-upped it to five at his request. We didn't push him into servitude. He wanted long term. He wanted stability. He wanted Canada"
(from the "Edmonton Journal", June 25th, page A3, Joanne Ireland -- "Trade must strengthen Oilers: Lowe")

>>I too think that this is being blown a bit out of proportion, for example, Pronger did not "demand" to be traded, but the request was made.<<
I never said it's been blown out of're agreeing with my hypothetical Pronger statement. Like I said, my writing must suck.

OK, Pronger didn't directly demand a trade, but with all the leaks from his camp, it's very difficult for the Oil to bring him back. The leaks couldn't have come from the Oilers because Morris only notified them of their "request" late on Friday. Like I said, Pronger or his agent (I don't care which) poisoned the environment with those leaks of a trade "request". The leaks have essentially forced Lowe to deal him... Besides, if it was merely a request, why is the house reportedly up for sale?

>>Also, he does not have a no-trade clause. Maybe you should look into the facts of the situation before ranting about it.<<
Yikes. Re-read my paragraph. You'll note I *asked* whether Pronger had a no-trade. For that I get slapped for not checking my facts...and for ranting. Wow. Not that you need an explanation, but here's why I thought Pronger had a no-trade:
Lowe - "...but the fact he has a no-trade clause helps us."
(same Edmonton Journal article).

Turns out that was probably a typo / mis-quote / "bad edit" / whatever word you deem most appropriate (Lord knows I'll pick the wrong one in your eyes). Prior paragraph contains the following (emphasis mine):
"Laforge was certain this is not a roundabout way to seek a raise--that is, trade me or pay me more--and because Pronger does not have a no-trade clause..."

I missed that as I read the article. My bad. I simply skipped to the next paragraph because I *know* it's not a renegotiation ploy. The new CBA forbids it. Good enough fact checking for you?

>>"comparing the Maas and pronger family situations is assanine(sic)."<<
Covered that to start with...

>>I can't believe how quick everyone is turning on Pronger for this.<<
I suppose it would be better if people just didn't care...

>>he also clearly kept quiet about it for a long time.<<
Aside from making sure the new St. Louis ownership knew about it by regularly phoning up a St.Louis media guy (if Strickland is to be believed).

>>I cvan't (sic) believe how quick this city turned on a guy who gave their them greatest moments in 16 years. Without Pronger, the Oil wouldn't have even made the playoffs!<<

Yes, Pronger deserves credit for playing well while "unhappy". Isn't that what he's supposed to do though? As a professional? Now guys get credit for not pulling a Vince?

Pronger definitely deserves credit for playing at such an exceptional level--regardless of circumstance though. Does exceptional play absolve him of any and all actions? Not in my book.

>>Yes, this hurts, but anyone who hates Pronger over this at this point is clearly overreacting, and needs to take a look at the entire picture.<<
I'll try another tack. The problem with this whole situation isn't what happened to the Oil last year. Clearly it was great season, and Pronger was the MVP (both regular season and playoffs). It was a sniff / whiff / hint of the "glory days". That the dark years were over. The Oilers once again had a premiere talent in Pronger like we hadn't seen in many years. But it was only a mirage. Read the "Body Blow" Tychkowski column from the Sun. If you still can't get it from that, fine.

Go ahead and just shrug if you want. I contend that big picture, this is a devastating development for the Oilers. Friday had all the hallmarks of August 9, 1988 to me. For several reasons, this easily has the potential to be even worse. And I'm in denial. Imagine if I thought it going to happen...

- Rod

Paul O-the O stands for Sports said...

Okay Rod,

My point is that the city is overreacting and treating Pronger like the Anti-Christ, when very little of the facts have come out, other than Pronger's family situation is not good. By harping on the guy's contract and the way he's screwing the city, people are forgettign that this is a guy who put the Oilers in the Cup Final a week ago, and that, had they lost to the Wings, this isn't nearly as big of a deal as it is now. The timing from Pronger was spot on (the draft is a terrific time to make a deal, and it was announced before the FA signing period, so Lowe could plan around not having his contract on the books(HAd Pronger announced this in August, with all the major FAs snapped up, that would have been terrible.)

I'm not sayign that the move was good for the team, merely that faulting a guy whose family life is clearly unhappy (I take the house for sale move as indicative that they were moving after this seaosn whether he stayed or not) for asking for the opportunity to improve that situation is a little early. Let's hold off on the hate until there's clear reason to. I don't think a trade request is.

Rocky Cola said...

Here is what I see...You guys are ripping on him because he what he is doing is everything you hate about pro athletes..
Excuse me, but changing teams or your career for your wife is putting what should be most important first. I would think more pro athletes should learn from this...
And Strickland, the writer from STL who had the right info. gets abused and was classified as unreliable. Shooting the messenger boys. Shooting the messenger.

Anonymous said...

I think his wife should shut her damn mouth and let him play if hes leaving because that mental case cant handle edmonton word to the wise your not in stl your in oil country and we have passion so go ahead run from your problems. hope you enjoyed the 6 mil if i was in you position id shut my damn mouth and play hockey.your a greedy no good wast of talent and you suck pronger.

Anonymous said...

Good bye big bitch pronger be sure to shut your wife up this time dont wanna see ya go anywhere else you leatch enjoy th 6 mil. give a mil to your wife to shut her up or by a muzzle you suck and you should be making 10 dollers if you could skate you move slower then a fat kid on a diet you suck and will always suck thank you mrs.pronger tata we dont need your stupid asses.

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it here in Edmonton, that Pronger cheated on his wife, got his "mistress" pregnant, and now his wife doesnt want him to have anything to do with the "bastard child", so either he stays with his wife and kid, or never sees them again, and stays with the girl he had the fling with and lose everything else. What a selfish bitch his wife is hey??

Anonymous said...

Ya, I heard that too... either he moves away from the girl he knocked up, because his wife doesnt want to hear about her, or see her in the newspaper, radio etc. or have any contact with her at all. So his wife is basically saying, either we move together, or Me and our child are gone without you...