This was originally going to be a reply to this post but I never really completed it - most of the body was written 2005-11-14. With the latest rumours about Chris Pronger now, it seems relevant again (I almost deleted it last week).
Normally I don't comment on a weblog after reading it for the first time (Tim Bray linked to you today), but this one is close to my heart, being a life-long Oilers fan. Sounds like Veronika left out the 16 games Petr played in Edmonchuk in 2004, by the way. :)
I couldn't imagine your scenario given my current job. However, NHL players are all well aware of the problems associated with their job, and they're all, to a man, compensated accordingly. Their minimum salary is ten times what I currently make; even after taxes and agent cuts that's a pretty hefty chunk of change. (Nedved made 4mm as an Oiler. I couldn't hope to see that in my lifetime.) They know the risk, and accept it implicitly by continuing to sign contracts - nobody holds a gun to their heads when they sign, as far as I'm aware. So if I were an NHL team's executive, I'd be well aware of the ramifications of trading somebody, but as hockey players said for years when they left their previous teams as UFAs: it's business. Nedved, btw, was in Phoenix voluntarily, he signed a UFA contract with them when Edmonton didn't take the 5 million dollar team option on his contract, although I'll grant you he was an Oiler only because of a trade.
I see what you're saying, but NHL players drawing vastly greater sums of money than most fans can ever dream of shouldn't be surprised if they're scoffed at when they want a "normal" life.