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Pronger at ease in laid-back California
Joanne Ireland, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Thursday, October 26, 2006

ANAHEIM, Calif. - At six-foot-six, Chris Pronger still stands out in a crowd, but there are far fewer interruptions now during dinners out, fewer unsolicited suggestions about the power play.

An insatiable hockey market this isn't.

Anaheim is, however, Pronger's new hockey home, and he is settling in -- much to the chagrin of the Oilers faithful who are still irked by his trade request. A few of those former fans even made the trip down from Edmonton. One was going to wear a jersey with No Longer on the back in place of Pronger.

"Anytime you move to a new team there's going to be an adjustment period," Pronger said of his time in Anaheim thus far. "You have to get used to new teammates, new systems, a new environment, all the rest of that stuff. It's going to take a bit of time to feel as comfortable as you did in the previous setting," the defenceman said before the Ducks retained their undefeated record against the Oilers in the Honda Center with a 6-2 victory on Wednesday.

"It's a work in a progress."

That said, the defenceman wasn't any more forthcoming about what it was that led him to leave Edmonton following the Oilers' Stanley Cup run.

As he said after Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe dealt him to the Ducks in return for Joffrey Lupul and Ladislav Smid, the decision to move elsewhere was a decision he made with his family.

"Was there one mitigating factor over another? No," he said.

And if that still doesn't answer the lingering questions, "Too bad. That's the answer you're going to get," continued Pronger, who will hear all about it on Nov. 28, when he returns to Rexall Place.

That fan fervour just isn't part of the California culture, which is why empty seats are not all that unusual.

"It's not the same type of market here, the same type of atmosphere," said Pronger.

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