Environment Canada says that Tuesdays high temperature in Edmonton will be -23, by game time it will still be -23, but that will seem positively balmy, compared to the temperature of the extremely chilly Pronger index, as the crowd displays it's delight at the return of Chris Pronger the Anaheim Duck and former Edmonton Oiler defenceman.
The date has long been circled on the dedicated Oiler fan’s calendar, November 28, the day that Edmonton's modern day Benedict Arnold makes his return to the most northern outpost in the NHL.
They’ve been so pumped up for this day, that they began booing at the last home game, any mention of the Anaheim Ducks coming to town was greeted with a chorus of boos, kind of a communal limbering up session.
Pronger the prodigal returns and the Oiler faithful are going to share something that will apparently not resemble love. Pronger asked for and was granted a trade in the off season, spurning the affections of the Oiler crowds for the affections of his wife and family. His decision it seems did not go down well with the fine residents of Edmonton, who took his flight as serious case of civic disrespect.
Since then the name that once was chanted with a sense of reverence has had decidedly less favourable adverbs and pronouns attached to it. His arrival in Edmonton today one day before the showdown with the faithful was met by a media avalanche worthy of a Lindsay Lohan-Paris Hilton cage match refereed by Britney Spears. Everybody wants to ask why, Pronger isn’t ready to give them what they want.
He has attempted his own bit of pre-emptive soothing, telling anyone who will listen about how much fun he had last year, how the fans were amazing and pushed the Oilers on to greater glory coming up just a little bit short. Nice words, apparently that nobody is interested in and will go unheard or at least unheeded for one night anyways.
In the end, the game will eventually take precedence, the Oilers hoping to knock off the high flying Ducks and claim two points that might come in handy in April or May. The fans will do their best to help out the home side, but they expect to try and get their own pound of flesh on their own.
It promises to be louder than usual at Rexall Place, something that seems hardly possible, but given the right atmosphere expect the Oiler fans to make their position known.
Pronger has become accustomed to heating boos; it comes with the territory when you’re one of the top defencemen in the game. It might be a bit strange to be public enemy number one, but if that’s what it takes for the Ducks to sneak out of town with a win he’ll most likely accept his role.
Showing that they're pretty savvy promoters, the Oilers have the game on Pay Per View, which means that any hockey fan not able to squeeze into Rexall Place, will have to shell out to the Oilers to join in on the fun. Giving the Oilers a pretty nice return on the Pronger return.
I hope he asked for a couple of tickets from the Oilers for the game for himself, I think he could probably make a pretty healthy return on his seats. It would make the perfect revenge on an Oiler fan base, which promises to make his return a most interesting night. If nothing else he could leave them empty and reduce the noise by at least two sets of lungs.