Monday, July 03, 2006

The Orbs of Sour

It’s been an unbelievable series of events, really. Two weeks to the day of the Edmonton Oilers Game 7 loss in the Stanley Cup final, Chris Pronger has been traded.

Has any hockey player ever gone from beloved hero to ‘dead-to-me’ zero that quickly?

It’s hard to imagine what the decibel rating will be in Rexall Place for Pronger’s return. (I suppose we’ll have an answer to that age old question: ‘Do boos really register as louder than cheers?’)

Covered in Oil has the details on Pronger’s farewell press conference, which reads like it was a painful exercise for all parties involved (why is a reporter’s job so often to ask questions that people do not and will not answer?). One suspects Edmontonians will never really get the closure (re: public stoning) they want.

How does an athlete so well-liked and respected fall this far, this fast?

Pronger knew what he was up against in requesting this move, knew the venom that would surely be headed his way. To me, that speaks to just how badly he — and his family — wanted to leave.

The strange thing is, Pronger was lauded last fall for coming to Edmonton when so many other stars had shunned the city, which is regarded as one of pro sports’ remote outposts. Shouldn’t that one decision to come and play, if only for a year, put him ahead of those that never would? Had Pronger requested this move last fall, prior to leading Oilers fans within one game of a championship, would fans have been more forgiving?

Apologies for the interruption. Back to the bloodbath, if you please.


At 6:01 p.m., July 03, 2006, Blogger Wardo said...

I can't believe Lowe pulled this trade off only days after the free-agency period opened. What did he have to lose by waiting a couple of months for Pronger's value to bob back up to pre-free agency period levels?

Do Edmonton fans wish Lowe had made the deal for Kaberle now?

At 6:26 p.m., July 03, 2006, Blogger ToTheBank said...

Kaberle? Uh, no.

At 6:35 p.m., July 03, 2006, Anonymous RyanH said...

Chris Pronger = Keyser Soze

At 7:03 p.m., July 03, 2006, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

I think people would have been upset, but I don't think they would have been this upset if he had done a press conference before he left town. The manner in which this all went down is what bugs, at least me, the most. Even if he had given the same non-answers he gave today a week ago, people would have had more sympathy. But to leave town, get his agent to break the news, do it before the draft, and undermine our negotiating power--all of which was done intentionally--drives people insane. What makes Oilers fans even more insane, I'm guessing, is to come back and blame the "internet" and the "media" for his own inability to stand in front of a group of reporters before he went to Mexico and give some honest answers to tough questions.

At 8:03 p.m., July 03, 2006, Blogger jesse robbins said...

Do Edmonton fans wish Lowe had made the deal for Kaberle now?

I can't speak for other Oilers fans, but basically not a chance. Pronger definately drove his value down over the last 2 weeks, but even the stunts he pulled couldn't drive his value so low that the Oilers would have made that god-awful Kaberle-Stajan trade. Leafs fans need to learn that having played for the Leafs only makes a player better in their eyes, not in everyone else's eyes.

As for Oilers fans being mad at Pronger, I agree with Andy. He took the coward's way out of his commitment, and that's alot more upsetting than the actual trade request.

Oilers fans tend to value team loyalty very highly (see Georges Laraque), so when CP appeared to commit to the team, he got alot of love back from the fans. Would we be less upset if this had happened last fall? I'd say yes, because it's going to take alot of years of booing to get back the full season worth of good will this town showed him.

At 7:45 a.m., July 04, 2006, Blogger alyosha mcbain said...

Man. Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger on the same team. That is unfair.

Brian Burke is a bad man.


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