Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Public Enemy #1

Its a banner week in Oil Country in terms of villians. First ex-golden boy Mike Comrie returns in a Phoenix jersey, now Chris Pronger in a Duck's. Its hard to say who is more hated in Edmonton, but personally, I'm much more dissapointed in Pronger. Mike Comrie had a lot of pressure to succeed and perhaps not enough ability. After a dissapointing series against Dallas he was called out by Mac T and simply never resigned.

In contrast, Pronger signed a 6 year agreement to workfor the Oilers. At last, Edmonton had a bonified franchise player. Within a year, the Oilers made the cup final and missed out by a couple goals. Mysteriously, Pronger took a trip to Mexico (Hawaii?) and demanded a trade, citing personal reasons. Now, I'm not going to speculate (theres been enough of that) on his reasons for wanting to leave, but they're irrelevant. For the first time in his career Pronger experienced playoff success, played in a hockey town, had a good (great?) team behind him and was living in his native land. Call me a dreamer but that sounds pretty ideal to me.

The remaining Oilers, for their part, seemed to have taken the whole incident well, and appear to be using it as motivation this year. Many suggested the Oilers would not have a good team this year because Chris Pronger was such a key to the team's success, but the Staois' and Moreaus disagreed claiming it was a 23 man commitment that lead to success. So far, they're proving themselves right.

Keys to the Game

Special Teams - Pronger and Niedermeyer will probably see about 60 combined minutes on the ice. They're both expert PKers and PPers, and it shows up statistically (5th ranked PP in NHL at 24%). Edmonton's team PK is 90.2% (5th) effecient, while Anaheim's is 88.9% (9th) effecient.

Public Enemy - I don't expect the Oil will pay any particular attention to Pronger, at least no more than a franchise defenseman usually gets. Speed is Pronger's only weakness, but he uses his wingspan well.

Chemisty - Will the Torres - Stoll - Pisani line stay together? If they do, it'll be the best 3rd line in hockey today.

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