THE SEVEN-YEAR ITCH

Robin Brownlee
December 09 2013 05:42PM

For all the differences between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Edmonton Oilers, including the cities they play in, the two teams that contested the 2006 Stanley Cup final have one thing in common – it's pretty much sucked to be a fan of either organization since then.

Fans in Edmonton, who watched the Oilers sneak into the playoffs in 2006 and then come within one win of celebrating a sixth Stanley Cup, haven't had a playoff series to cheer about since then. It's a seven-year drought that's about to become eight straight years. The Oilers haven't only missed, they've missed by a mile. This, we know.

The Hurricanes, who come calling at Rexall Place Tuesday, haven't taken the has-been bit to the same extreme as the Oilers, but they've missed the playoffs for four straight seasons and have made the post-season just once – in 2009 -- since they hoisted the Cup in Raleigh. They're in contention in the Eastern Conference this season.

That's an uncomfortable comparison for both teams, to be sure, and a relationship that's an anomaly as far as I know – just one playoff appearance combined for the teams over the past seven years. I haven't been able to find two Cup finalists from any year previous to 2006 who combined for just one playoff appearance in the following seven years.

When the Oilers and Hurricanes missed the playoffs in 2007, it marked the first time in NHL history that both Stanley Cup finalists from the previous year failed to qualify for the post-season the next year.

LONG WAY DOWN

The Hurricanes, as Edmonton fans are all-too aware, at least got their names engraved on the silverware in 2006 and then made the conference finals in 2009. They've been in playoff contention in other years as well. The Oilers? They got first overall picks in Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov and a ham sandwich.

Just five players from the 2006 Cup final remain with the Oilers and the Hurricanes. The lone Oilers are Ales Hemsky and Ryan Smyth, while Radek Dvorak now plays for the Hurricanes, joining Eric Staal and goaltender Cam Ward.

The teams have gone through eight coaches since then. Edmonton's had now-GM Craig MacTavish, Pat Quinn, Tom Renney, Ralph Krueger and Dallas Eakins behind the bench. Peter Laviolette, Paul Maurice and Kirk Muller have run the gate down on Tobacco Road.

I remember chatting with Chris Pronger going into that 2006 Cup final and I recall him hammering on the point about seizing the moment and leaving everything on the ice because there was no way of knowing when, or if, the opportunity to play for the Stanley Cup would come again.

Fans filing into Rexall Place for this match-up of the 2006 Stanley Cup finalists can certainly attest to that after seven years, going on eight, of nothing but futility since.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 Quicksilver ballet
December 09 2013, 06:05PM
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The player who made the biggest impact in that series.....

Marc Andre Bergeron.

Without that fateful hit, the Oil would be 6 time Stanley Cup Champions today.

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#3 Rocket
December 09 2013, 05:51PM
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Since 2006 I've hated The Hurricanes and I always will. I hear Raleigh is nice though.

Man it feels like forever since that Cinderella run. Remember when The Oilers were in the playoffs? I barely do. Wasn't that before facebook , twitter and iphones? I'm not sure but time flies when my favourite team sucks at hockey.

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#4 BorisMironov2
December 09 2013, 07:34PM
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The oilers don't even have a ham sandwich. They traded it for an AHL depth forward and future considerations.

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#5 Jonathan Willis
December 09 2013, 07:18PM
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Just a reminder, folks: if you're planning on commenting here solely to take a shot at a writer the comments will be deleted and then further steps will be taken.

I hate putting IP bans in place, so let's just try and keep the comments on point please.

Thanks!

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#6 dougtheslug
December 09 2013, 11:32PM
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I'm surprised no one has mentioned the real key to the 2006 success - arguably the best player in the world at the time anchored the defence. Face it, Pronger was a horse, heck, he was a whole team of horses, and he cemented his reputation by carrying 2 more teams on his back into the SCF, winning once. Hot goaltending, Pisani in a zone, and a bunch of guys inspired to play so far above their heads that their noses bled - has Stoll ever played better? Smyth? Torres? Hemsky? A rock solid 3-4 and 5-6 D.

Man, just thinking about that team makes me shake my head in disbelief at how far the Oilers have fallen.

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#7 Jason
December 09 2013, 05:53PM
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Robin,

The thing I find most interesting is that the Hurricanes have a Big #1 centre, and a proven #1 goalie. 2 things the Oilers do not have.

They may not be a powerhouse, but the Hurricanes have consistently been better than the Oilers since that Cup year. as well.

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#8 Harlie
December 09 2013, 07:59PM
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Fire K Lowe?

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#9 Anthony
December 09 2013, 08:06PM
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Was at every home game during the '06 playoffs... still tears me up inside every time watching that reply in game 7. The team we have now is more talented but man did that team put effort every game.

I remember fans being hard on Peca... but he and Pisani delivered when it counted. I would take the 06 Oilers in a heartbeat over the current Oilers not just because they went into the final but because they "Competed" every night during the season. They were just a goaltender away from being a solid team throughout the regular season... and then they go Roloson.

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#10 Al Davis
December 09 2013, 10:59PM
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This seven-year itch is starting to feel more like an STD. The sex was great when it happened, but then we found out Pronger had herpes and we've been paying for it ever since.

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#11 Retsinnab5
December 09 2013, 08:53PM
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My son was born in 1999. He has been alive for 2 millenniums, 2 centuries and 3 decades. Yet he can barley remember the last time the Oilers played a playoff game.

Fire K-lowe

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#12 Rocket
December 09 2013, 06:09PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

Totally. Just thinking about that angrys up the blood.

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#14 EP
December 09 2013, 08:10PM
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I'm typically not an overly emotional person, but watching that SCF Game 7 intro almost brought me to tears.

Almost 8 years later, and it's still too soon to talk about.

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#15 Jackson
December 09 2013, 09:59PM
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Kevin Lowe is an embarrassment . The Oilers have horrible for the last 7 years and working on 8. This teams management is a joke around the league.

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#16 Cynic
December 09 2013, 09:16PM
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Without that fateful hit, the Oil would be 6 time Stanley Cup Champions today.

And if my aunt had a package, she'd be my uncle.

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#18 He Who Knows
December 09 2013, 09:43PM
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I hope Kevin Lowe reads the Nation. Maybe he will get the point and leave our town.

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#19 Anthony
December 09 2013, 08:14PM
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@Robin Brownlee

Robin,

I see your point the problem was during that time management thought (and rightfully so) that Pronger was the centerpiece of the team. I remember Al Strachan breaking the news on HNIC that Pronger wants out... I didn't believe it. The Pronger fiasco left a huge hole in the Oilers that they never fully recovered.

If it wasn't for that that teams was built to repeat at least contend for the playoffs.

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#21 madjam
December 09 2013, 11:08PM
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After 2006 the league went one way , and we tried to emulate the old Oilers thru draft , etc.. We never imagined with the new rules how much size and grit would dictate the new game and order of things to come . Only this draft have we gone all out to upsize , and I doubt we will have much success for 2-3 years down the road . Slow for Oilers to recognize , and just as slow trying to redevelop any of it . A new GM and Coach have had even less success than those they replaced ,despite everything . This feels more like the first year of the rebuild than the 8th to be honest . The obvious , always draft skill did not work for us .

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#22 thinkerr
December 09 2013, 07:22PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

The Bergeron play swung the final over the balance of the series, but the Oilers coughed up a 3-0 lead with Roloson in goal in Game 1.

It's easy to point at Bergeron as the goat, but the play in which Roloson was injured came after the Oilers frittered that lead away and before Conklin misplayed the puck on the play Brind'Amour got the winner on.

But I do see the oil recovering if they didn't have conklin in net. The next game was a blowout, and I believe that a big part of that was the loss of faith without roloson who was a catalyst on that team. I blame MA Bergeron for that cup loss. Which is ironic because I let Steve Smith off the hook for his dumb play.

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#23 Dave
December 09 2013, 07:48PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

The Bergeron play swung the final over the balance of the series, but the Oilers coughed up a 3-0 lead with Roloson in goal in Game 1.

It's easy to point at Bergeron as the goat, but the play in which Roloson was injured came after the Oilers frittered that lead away and before Conklin misplayed the puck on the play Brind'Amour got the winner on.

I recall watching in disbelief when Conklin went into the net. Why was he the back up ?? To me Conklin will always my all time Oilers goat.

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#24 Walter Sobchak
December 09 2013, 09:41PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Since the 2006 Cup final, the Oilers have won 224 of the 571 games they've played. The Canes have won 268 of 570.

I just threw up a little in my mouth!! What a waste of hockey tickets, time & money

Another reason not to renew.

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#25 Zarny
December 10 2013, 11:09AM
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Love the articles about the 2006 Oilers because I think it highlights the fundamental flaw in the Oilers rebuild and the path forward.

The 2006 team was characterized by depth. All contenders are. Depth down the middle, depth on the blueline, depth in net.

The current Oilers are the antithesis of depth.

As we've seen if 1 or 2 of the top 6 F are injured half their forwards become borderline NHL players.

Conventional wisdom with young players who are prone to making mistakes is to support them with veterans.

Instead the entire 4th line has even less NHL experience than the kids.

And they are supported by a below average D where only Ference has more than 200 games experience. Heck, Ference and Petry are the only D with over 100 games experience.

And in G is a 27 y/o "prospect" who may or may not be good enough to make the playoffs.

The bold moves for a top pairing D, 50-60 pt power F or elite G will not easy; but adding basic NHL depth should be.

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#26 kale
December 09 2013, 09:30PM
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Great title RB, but the "Six Ring circus" one is still king!

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#27 **
December 10 2013, 12:14AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Your position is supported by truckloads of evidence -- most of which Daryl Katz obviously doesn't give a squirt about.

kevin lowe has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is not a competent hockey executive. Why then is he on team Canada's management team?

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#29 Thinkerr
December 09 2013, 09:29PM
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I propose an all time goat list. I'll Start… Pocklington (after august 9 1988) Steve Smith (True Dynasty Lost) MA Bergeron (Killed last shred of dignity) Belanger (where offence goes to die) Conklin (Sucks) KLOWE (One year where the coach pulled a team out of nowhere. I will never forgive the two class of fan and six ring comments. You've had 13 years pal.) T..a….b..e…l..i…n…n….i (still assessing him) Thats all I got for now, I don't know if any current players have earned a spot on an all time list, but they are doing their darndest.

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#30 Rod from Viking
December 09 2013, 09:08PM
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I was at 1/2 of the home playoff games in 06 since I share my tickets, virtually every game I was at went into overtime and I think everyone was double O.T. and the Oilers won every one, it was so load and exciting, after the game we had the 2 hour drive home and I was custom spraying so 2 hours of sleep and off to work,it just about killed me but so much fun.

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#31 Freewheeling Freddie
December 10 2013, 01:37AM
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Kevin tell me why did Pronger want out after only 1 year ? The Pronger curse continues it will be eight long years and no playoffs. Kevin us diehards are hurting please quit. The other 44 SS would sure look good here wouldn't he, compared to the group of bums we have currently on the backend.I sure miss Cal and the previous ownership.

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#32 Spydyr
December 10 2013, 06:25AM
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** wrote:

kevin lowe has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is not a competent hockey executive. Why then is he on team Canada's management team?

Old boys club.Just like the Oilers.

In politics the best person does not always get elected.The most connected and/or corrupt. That is another story.

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#33 Manfly
December 10 2013, 07:01AM
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Oiler Al wrote:

I think you can add the "Triple P " to that difference maker list. Pronger - Pisani - Peca.

i think, as was mentioned, the reason the Oilers lost the cup finals was they couldn't hold a 3-0 first period lead in game #1 in Raleigh. i firmly believe that Jussi Markkanen played well enough for us to win the cup if we could have just held that lead in game #1.

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#34 hall the time
December 09 2013, 07:08PM
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Pearon would fit right into the 06 team, same with Arco maybe Hall and Ferance.

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#35 D
December 09 2013, 09:00PM
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Dave wrote:

I recall watching in disbelief when Conklin went into the net. Why was he the back up ?? To me Conklin will always my all time Oilers goat.

Conklin is listed as a goat in my profile (along with Steve Smith and Pocklington). To me, one of the biggest mistakes of the last decade was having Conk-head as backup in net for Game 1 of the SCF.

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#36 Rob
December 10 2013, 12:45AM
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Do the Oilers have the 7 year itch or a nasty weeping rash?

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#37 oilerjed
December 10 2013, 08:46AM
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@RB These are sour memories RB. Unfortunately I am reminded of the 2006 FAIL everytime I am at the Campbell River Airport, where a glass encased Rob Brindamour Canes jersey sits prominently in the 10' * 10' waiting room. Right up the road from the Rod Brindamour Arena. Man I hate Campbell River. If I only hadnt had previous bad experiences with breaking glass...............

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#38 Manfly
December 10 2013, 09:24AM
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oilerjed wrote:

@RB These are sour memories RB. Unfortunately I am reminded of the 2006 FAIL everytime I am at the Campbell River Airport, where a glass encased Rob Brindamour Canes jersey sits prominently in the 10' * 10' waiting room. Right up the road from the Rod Brindamour Arena. Man I hate Campbell River. If I only hadnt had previous bad experiences with breaking glass...............

it was a bad memory for me too, but i remember at the time i took it rather well and figured we had enough talent to get back to the finals again, having beaten very good teams like San Jose, Detroit and Anaheim to get there.....then Pronger, Peca and Samsonov left, the Oilers tried to UFA sign their way back to the finals, failed miserably, and....well, here we sit today with this dog's breakfast. :-(

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#39 Tikkanese
December 10 2013, 10:18AM
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@Freewheeling Freddie

He didn't want out. His wife thought a change of scenery would stop Chris' extra curricular non marital affairs he was having. True story. Watch his exit press conference.

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#40 camdog
December 10 2013, 11:06AM
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Zarny wrote:

Unlikely.

Peca is an American. He simply didn't want to live in Edm.

Pronger leaving simply boils down to happy wife, happy life.

Nothing would have changed if Ken Holland or Stan Bowman were running the team I'm afraid.

Peca and Pronger's wife would still have preferred a different postal code.

Peca has a gold with team Canada, he's from southern Ontario.

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#41 john
December 10 2013, 04:53AM
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Stanley Cup finals in 2006, if the Oilers won the first game with 3-1 lead they could have won the cup that year. They blew the lead and lost the game then the next game too. Down 3-1 in games and came back to tie 3-3 was amazing. Again game 7 they were flat and lost 3-1. That's a painful summer for me, but then it's a great run and I was so thrilled with the playoffs that year. Hopefully Oilers can make playoffs again soon.

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#42 EasyOil
December 10 2013, 04:56AM
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Not to nitpick RB, but Ruutu didn't join the 'Canes until 2007/08.

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#43 Oiler Al
December 10 2013, 06:27AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

The player who made the biggest impact in that series.....

Marc Andre Bergeron.

Without that fateful hit, the Oil would be 6 time Stanley Cup Champions today.

I think you can add the "Triple P " to that difference maker list. Pronger - Pisani - Peca.

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#44 Freewheeling Freddie
December 10 2013, 10:34AM
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Tikkanese wrote:

He didn't want out. His wife thought a change of scenery would stop Chris' extra curricular non marital affairs he was having. True story. Watch his exit press conference.

That was probably part of the reason. However there has to be more to it .Peca wasn't exactly happy to be here and left after 1 year. I have to believe K Lowe pissed them both off just my opinion. I am sure they both would have stayed if Ken Holland or Stan Bowman were running the team.

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#45 Tikkanese
December 10 2013, 10:48AM
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Freewheeling Freddie wrote:

That was probably part of the reason. However there has to be more to it .Peca wasn't exactly happy to be here and left after 1 year. I have to believe K Lowe pissed them both off just my opinion. I am sure they both would have stayed if Ken Holland or Stan Bowman were running the team.

No, there doesn't have to be more. He got another woman pregnant. His wife made him deal with that and then demanded the change of scenery. The reporters even questioned him on it during the exit press conference and his reply was "ask her, is she pregnant now?".

All the smoke screen stories of how his wife didn't like the cold don't make any sense. He just got a massive raise to play for the Oilers and almost won a cup. Got all the playing time he could handle, was the toast of the city. No way K Lowe would or could have pissed him off enough to want to leave the city. It was 100% save the family effort.

Peca thought he was better than he was at that point of his career. That's why he left. Most of the others were rentals and all got to much $ on the open market to match.

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#46 Zarny
December 10 2013, 10:49AM
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Freewheeling Freddie wrote:

That was probably part of the reason. However there has to be more to it .Peca wasn't exactly happy to be here and left after 1 year. I have to believe K Lowe pissed them both off just my opinion. I am sure they both would have stayed if Ken Holland or Stan Bowman were running the team.

Unlikely.

Peca is an American. He simply didn't want to live in Edm.

Pronger leaving simply boils down to happy wife, happy life.

Nothing would have changed if Ken Holland or Stan Bowman were running the team I'm afraid.

Peca and Pronger's wife would still have preferred a different postal code.

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#47 K Low
December 10 2013, 11:09AM
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** wrote:

kevin lowe has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is not a competent hockey executive. Why then is he on team Canada's management team?

G bear is a former fourth rate boxer who couldn't even win a foxy boxing match! Heis a tuff guy! t-u-f-f!

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#48 Raingump
December 10 2013, 12:44PM
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Video is ruined by the song, come on, Nickelback?

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#49 Rod from Viking
December 10 2013, 07:22PM
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Tikkanese wrote:

He didn't want out. His wife thought a change of scenery would stop Chris' extra curricular non marital affairs he was having. True story. Watch his exit press conference.

I was told from a fairly reliable source that there was an agreement between Pronger and Lowe that it would be a trial run for 05/06 to see how the family liked Edmonton(his wife is a daughter of the Dupont empire) and if it didn't work out he would be traded to a contender in the states. This does make sense since they even rented their furniture, if this and the extra curricular things are true then that is why the deal with Anaheim happened so quickly. No one in their wildest imagination thought this team would be one win away from winning the cup including Pronger and Lowe. Lets hope Darnell is the next "Rake".

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#50 crobar
December 11 2013, 12:54AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Just a reminder, folks: if you're planning on commenting here solely to take a shot at a writer the comments will be deleted and then further steps will be taken.

I hate putting IP bans in place, so let's just try and keep the comments on point please.

Thanks!

i`m not sure if i`m green here, but calling out or criticizing an article should be totally fair game. i come to this site to read what PROFESSIONAL writers have to say. sometimes these articles are on the money, sometimes out of their mind. i think readers have the right to give their opinion as long as comments aren`t personal. i hope alot of latitude be given in this area.

thx

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