SUN Hockey Pool

Waiting to be dethroned

RANDY SPORTAK, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 10:13 AM ET

LOS ANGELES -- Trade rumours aren't new to Craig Conroy. Nor is the fear of being dealt mid-season.

There was the time early in the 2003-04 campaign when Conroy, then with the Calgary Flames, was told by then coach Darryl Sutter to skip practice with the team on the road in Nashville.

That mid-November day, he got on the phone with his wife and told her to brace for a move.

"Even in the first full year I was in Calgary, there was talk about being traded to New Jersey," he recalled of the rumoured swap for Scott Gomez.

"I was worried and had a couple of bad games. (Then GM) Craig Button finally came to me and said, 'You're not getting traded. Don't worry.' "

But that's nothing like how it has been this season for the Los Angeles Kings centre. Since the campaign began, he's been rumoured on the move to a multitude of destinations.

"It's trying at times," he said before facing the Flames last night at the Staples Center. "From the beginning of the season, it's been pretty much non-stop. You try to be professional and not think about it but, let's be honest, my kids see it, my wife sees it. You're hoping the team gets going better and improves and it goes away."

Among his potential new homes is Calgary.

"For me and my family, it'd be the easiest. I still know a lot of people and love Calgary," he said.

"There are so many teams I'm rumoured to be going to, so I don't want to think about any of them."

Conroy, who left the Flames after the 2004 playoff run for a four-year deal that pays him an average of US $2.4 million per season, does not have a no-trade clause.

Therefore, the veteran is well aware a trade can happen at any time, even with his salary on the books through the 2007-08 season.

That is why he's trying to put a potential move out of his mind after acknowledging how the distraction has affected his game -- two goals and seven assists going into last night's clash.

"At some point, three weeks ago, I decided to let it go," he said.

"If it happens, it happens and if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen.

"You can't worry about it any more because I was driving myself crazy thinking about it every day.

"I couldn't even watch hockey any more because my name was out there and it was getting the best of me.

"For the last while, I decided I'd have fun, help this team and not think about it."


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