At first, the story was that his wife didn't like the city of Edmonton, and she wanted to be a little closer to her slightly crooked but filth rich father in St. Louis. While we all sort of snickered at that as being the reason, we sort of imagined that there was something else. Dressing room turmoil, we assumed. Not enough anonymity in a hockey-crazed town. Too many "Pronger is gay" rumors. Any of those. The latest rumor du jour, though, is pretty far down the list of things I imagined as reasons for wanting to get out of Dodge, and seems far less likely to be true than any of the others.
According to the rumor, Pronger impregnated an Edmonton CityTV personality. She is flatly denying it. She, or her lawyers, have asked the Oilers Message board moderators to ban any talk of the rumor. On Thursday night, on her website, the photo gallery has been disabled, and the following statement appears on the home page:
OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM CHRISTIE CHORLEY
JUNE 29, 2006
ANY RUMORS AND/OR SPECULATION ABOUT MY INVOLVEMENT WITH THE CURRENT CHRIS PRONGER SITUATION IS COMPLETELY, ONE-HUNDRED PERCENT FALSE.
I would appreciate your help in putting an end to my name being linked to this situation, as it is completely WITHOUT ANY MERIT OR FACTUAL BASIS.
Any further slander or defamation can and will result in swift legal action.
Maybe it's true and maybe it isn't. She sure is mad.
My next guess is that the gossip mongers had the rumor right, but the other party wrong. Maybe the CityTV personality romantically linked to Pronger was/is Kris Laudien. Or maybe Ed the Sock. I dunno. I'm just saying.
Anyway, the key thing is that "Orbs" wants out. Edmonton is shopping him with the following demands in return:
- A quality defenseman
- A quality forward
- A first round draft pick in 2007
There will also be some quality defensemen on the free agent market, so that might make the trade a little more difficult. However, Ottawa managed to re-sign Wade Redden amid speculation that he would become a free agent. Although the deal isn't official yet, it's believed to be in the area of 2 years/$13M.
The other thing that might make trading "Orbs" difficult is his enormous salary. He has four years remaining on his contract (originally signed with St. Louis)and is slated to make $6.25M next season. Any suitor would have to pay that amount, plus give up two quality players, plus give up a first rounder. The Oil gave up nothing to get him in the first place last summer, so anything at all in return would be good.
Some of the talk is about the Maple Leafs. This makes sense. Prongs is a native Ontarian, and would surely be able to be a key member in the community as well as a valuable addition to the Maple Leafs. For instance, he could be a spokesperson for the TGHA. Toronto has re-signed Bryan McCabe to a five-year/$28.75M contract, and the addition of Pronger would make them super-tough on defense.
The talk is that the Leafs would package Tomas Kaberle and somebody like Alexander Steen if they were serious about getting Pronger. In February, Kaberle signed a five year extension with the Leafs, which includes an "unconditional no-trade clause" in the first three years. I'm hearing that Kaberle is furious about this trade talk, and has every right to be. I'm not really down on the way those "no-trade" clauses work, but my understanding is that only the player can waive them. Help? Anyone?
Chris! over at Covered in Oil really hates this trade rumor, and in a riotously funny rant, he insists that Kaberle would hate Edmonton. As always, I highly recommend reading COI.
It doesn't appear that the Leafs have contacted the Oil yet, but lots of people are talking about that possibility.
One interesting rumor concerning the Penguins: Evgeni Malkin and Brooks Orpik. Allegedly, Pittsburgh is one of six teams that have officially contacted the Oil.
I imagine this will all get sorted out sometime next week. Of course, we also have the opening of the free agent market, which should be loads of fun.