SUN Hockey Pool

Pronger's agent confirms he wants a trade

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:33 PM ET

I thought these days were supposed to be over.

Wasn't that new collective bargaining agreement the Edmonton Oilers waited so long and fought so hard for supposed to give them the inalienable right to keep their best players?

Wasn't the annual summer exodus supposed to be a thing of the past?

Well, here we are, five days into the off-season, fresh off Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final and a City Hall rally toasting a return to the good old days, and it's back to the same old, same old.

Another superstar eyeing the exit.

Only this time it's not even about money.

It's worse. It's about Edmonton.

Chris Pronger and his wife want out.

Reports began surfacing Thursday in the Toronto Sun and yesterday on SportsNet that the Prongers find our city unlivable, even at $6.25 million a year, and desperately want a trade.

Don't like Edmonton

How's that for a punch in the Oiler logo. It almost seemed unbelievable at first, too cold to be true. Then, late last night, Pronger's agent Pat Morris confirmed the rumours.

The Prongers want out. They can't take it anymore. The Stanley Cup drive, the incredible scenes at Rexall Place, the hero worship and the endless supply of money are nice and all, but not enough to make them actually have to live in Edmonton eight months out of the year.

GM Kevin Lowe didn't return calls to the Edmonton Sun, but told a media scrum at the NHL draft in Vancouver yesterday that Pronger hasn't specifically demanded out. Turns out it was only a semantics dodge - it was the agent who did the asking.

Further pressed about the Prongers' comfort level in Edmonton, Lowe said: "I don't want to comment on that.''

Why would he, when it would only devalue Pronger on the trade market? Lowe knows you can never get as much for a player who's about to become a pariah in your city - and make no mistake, Pronger is about to replace Mike Comrie as the most hated ex-Oiler of all time.

The Oilers could certainly play hardball, and force the Prongers to honour that five-year contract he so casually signed upon his arrival, but forcing him to play here wouldn't be a healthy situation for either side.

All in all, it's a terrible body blow for a former dynasty that finally, after years of frustration and disappointment, got to cheer for a contender again.

Instead of the usual dread and penny pinching, there was real excitement this off-season about what Lowe, having proven himself an Executive Of The Year candidate on a level playing field, could do to make his Western Conference Champions even better.

Not for $$$

It was the good old days all over again.

Less than a week later, the beer and the blood have barely been washed from Whyte Ave and it's 1991 all over again.

Edmonton doesn't deserve this. For the fans to be kicked in the guts after how they stepped up in the playoffs is cruel and unusual punishment.

If it was money, we could understand it. Comrie will forever wear devil horns at Rexall Place because he chose money over home, but that is way easier to swallow than a star wanting out because he doesn't like the city.

This one is personal, and it has to cut those fans who scooped up those Pronger jerseys to the core.

So now, the question becomes: where does Pronger go, when, and for whom?

It could happen as soon as this morning. If the Prongers are just homesick, and St. Louis holds the first pick overall at the entry draft today, they could do a deal by lunch. Edmonton could get the first pick and a warm body and spend Pronger's money elsewhere.

Preferably on players who like Edmonton.

Have we told you how much we love you, Fernando Pisani?


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