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Original Issue

Comrie Won't Pay for Freedom The Oilers' Ransom Demand

Last week the Oilers were close to a trade that would have
delivered 23-year-old unsigned center Mike Comrie to the Ducks
for a prospect and a first-round pick in next year's draft.
Comrie even agreed to a two-year, $3.45 million contract with
Anaheim--less than he would have accepted from the Oilers, with
whom negotiations had become acrimonious. But on Dec. 10 the deal
blew up after an unprecedented demand by Edmonton G.M. Kevin
Lowe: that Comrie pay the Oilers $2.5 million in cash to help the
team sign his replacement.

Comrie, who Lowe had hoped would be so desperate to leave the
organization that he would acquiesce to the demand, refused to
pay, and as of Sunday he was still Edmonton property. Said Lowe,
"I don't expect everybody to side with me, but it's the spirit of
the idea."