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Trade Deadline for Beginners ....
Tuesday, 03 March 2009 04:44
Hi Ho Hockey fans.  As I’m sure you can imagine this is MY time of year.  This is where all of us journeyman have a bag packed by the back door much like a family expecting the arrival of their 1st child.  From here on out every time the phone rings your heart skips a beat.  Thank goodness for caller ID. I didn’t know which story to share so I thought I’d start at the beginning………My 1st Deadline Deal….

Allow me to set this one up:

It’s my first full season in the National Hockey League. I’ve had a few ups and downs to say the least: I was a holdout in Training Camp - against my will (more on that another time), had my best preseason ever (with only 1 day of practice I might add), started the season on the 2nd line (talk about fooling them), was a healthy scratch for the 1st time in the NHL (a role I would become VERY familiar with – but I think we covered that),  had a minor 33 game goal scoring draught (but who’s counting?), worked my way on to one the top 2 lines (I was actually on a line with Teemu Selanne – I’m  sure he remembers those days with fondness! I think that was the year he scored 76 goals…….or maybe not), and was playing the best hockey of my life as we approached the trade deadline.  I finally felt like I belonged….

Fast Forward: It’s March of ‘98, we (Ducks) are way out of the playoffs.  We have a few veterans and unrestricted free agents who will probably be traded for prospects or draft picks. I’m 25 and just coming into my own.  Getting traded is the furthest thing from my mind (in the years to come you could find me in the fetal position sucking my thumb every March). In fact, my roommate, Scott Young, is going to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer. He figures he’s getting dealt for sure…so do I.

We are in Chicago and its deadline day.  Deadline day is always exciting because its fun to see all the deals go down. Players love to see who went where, which teams got better, which ones got worse, which guys went to a contender, and which went to the Islanders, which GM has lost his mind (and there’s usually a few), and what new guys you have coming to your team.  I believe the deadline was 3pm EST. Scotty and I were in our room waiting for the phone to ring to see where he got traded. At 3:30 we high five each other!! The deadline has passed and he didn’t get dealt. I was happy for him. I decided to go hit the gym down the street and get in a quick executive workout before dinner.  As I’m about to walk in to my Jazzercize class there was an announcement over the PA “Would Sean Pronger please report to the front desk”. What the @#$%! Who could possibly want me? No one knows I’m here. Maybe I left my headband and mouth guard at the front.  “Hi, I’m Sean Pronger….did I forget something?” No sir, you have a message to call your roommate. Oh boy….Younger got traded!  I called Scotty to see where he went.  “Scotty, where did you go?”  “Nowhere!  Pierre called; he wants you to call him” “Pierre? Our coach? Why does he want to talk to me” (so naïve the first time). Then it hit me….I’VE BEEN TRADED!!!....holy #@$%!!!  I called Pierre and he asks “Have you spoken with Jack (Ferreira)?” “No I haven’t” OBVIOUSLY!!!!  “You had better call him” “Why?” I said.  I wanted to hear it from him…..”Please call him” he said….Can you believe that? Not even the courtesy to tell me……Just so you know, and I don’t want to name names, but the coach’s initials were Pierre Page.  I called Jack. “Alright, where am I going?” “Pittsburgh” he said. For Patrick Lalime……A GOALIE!! Son of a…….!  

Just like that, my career with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks was over.  I remember sharing a cab to the airport with Warren Rychel (one of the all time characters in the NHL who just got traded back to Colorado) and him saying “I can’t believe you got traded”…Neither can I.  I remember thinking to myself as I was boarding my flight “things happen for a reason…..maybe Pittsburgh is where I belong”……. HA

Journeyman OUT!
 
Act 1 Scene 2
Friday, 13 February 2009 20:56
The Journey
 
Welcome back hockey fans!! For those of you who are 1st time readers please read Act I Scene I or this blog will make ZERO sense.  If you are NOT reading this on www.chrispronger.com please check out the site and look under Journeyman Blogs.  If you are on the correct site.....Carry on! 
 
 
Act I Scene II
  
I think we left off last time with some plumbing issues in the ol'farm house in Tennesse.  Lets join the train wreck back in December....  I'm laying in my bed with the heater cranked reading the Wall Street Journal (or was it an Archie comic) and I gaze out the door to see,  in the darkness of our living room, the Christmas tree we had just decorated.  The way the lights shimmer off the silver, red, and blue Bud Light cans covering it.........MAGNIFICANT!!  As I'm staring at our tree with a stupid smirk on my face, the phone rings.  Its my agent (In order to protect his identity we will call him Jerry) I'm sure he's calling to collect his 3% of $500.....Nope. Jerry informs me there is an NHL team that wants to sign me when the lockout ends.  As I pull myself off the floor I say to him "Sorry, I thought you said an NHL team?" He says "yeah".  "Which team?" I ask.   "I can't tell you until after the lockout is over"  Ohhh, okay, I get it. You want to mess with me. Alright, I can take it. "WHICH #$%ING TEAM IS IT!!!!!!"... "Honestly, I can't tell you. Its in your best interest if you don't know. But know this, when the lockout ends you'll be signing your first NHL contract!!" .......Any guesses as to my next question?? Considering I had no heat or indoor plumbing in my luxurious farmhouse in Deliverence Tennessee, I think it went a little something like this...and very calmly I might add...."WHEN IS THE LOCKOUT GOING TO BE OVER!!!!!"... "Sean, I don't know"....Thanks Jerry....thanks for nothing....So I guess that puts me right back in Tennesse with no cable, no heat, but finally some indoor plumbing.  I know just who to call!! Parents? No.  Girlfriend?  No.  "Hey Chris, how's it going? What have you been up to?  How's the weather in Hartford? Blah, Blah, Blah....WHEN ARE YOU GUYS GOING TO TAKE THE DEAL SO I CAN GET THE $%&! OUT OF HERE!!"  
 
I think now is a good time to pause and recap what has happened over the last couple of months:
 
Released by the Vancouver Canucks
Head faked by the Detroit Red Wings
NHL Lockout
Ate a nice "thanks for coming" burger from the Las Vegas Thunder
Almost moved to England  
Settled in a State-of the Art Farmhouse in Tennesse
Was informed I'll be released from prison but they can't find the paperwork
 
Have I mentioned its only December??  Did anyone see a sign post??
 
Alright, I know what you're thinking....poor baby....you want some cheese with that box of wine??   Whatever!!  Back to our regularly scheduled program:
 
After I guilted my 20 yr old brother into taking on the players union on my behalf I called my parents and the future mrs. journeyman to give them the update. Obviously they were thrilled.  They all did time at "The Farmhouse" so they were somewhat relieved to hear there may be some light at the end of this tunnel....although, looking back I should have known it was a train!
 
So here's the situation:  I'm playing for the Knoxville Cherokees, and playing pretty well I might add. I have been chosen to play in the All star game...which is good  .I've been told I will sign with an NHL team if or when the lockout ends....which is also good. We have some positive things happening.....good stuff.  I want you to put yourself in my shoes. You've just been told you'll be moving 1 step closer to your dream.  How would you approach the games?  Do you go 100% still?  Knowing that if you get hurt you may miss your window...AGAIN!! Or do you let up....maybe you're not the 1st one in the corner......maybe you decide not to lay down and block that shot...Do you pace yourself?  What if the team that wants to sign you is still watching?  I hate to admit it but these thoughts ran through my head before games. 
 
The funny thing was that once the game started I didn't think about anything else. I just played.  That was probably the only time my mind didn't play tricks on me......when I was on the ice.  Off the ice, I was what you might call ......a little on edge.  
 
                    Next Blog: Act I Scene III
 
Journeyman OUT!
 
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