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April 16, 2014
Lowe Buries Burke
by Michael Menser Dell, Editor-in-Chief
"He's a moron, first of all," said Lowe to Edmonton's Team 1260. "Secondly, he really believes that any news for the NHL is good news. Thirdly, he loves the limelight and I don't think anyone in hockey will dispute that. Lastly, he's in a pathetic hockey market where they can't get on any page of the newspaper let alone the front page of the sports, so any of this stuff carries on."
But Lowe wasn't done. Oh, no. He was just getting started.
"I'm sick and tired of it," said Lowe of Burke's personal attacks. "I know everybody in hockey is. I know our peers are like, 'Well, that's Burkie.' This guy is an absolute media junkie, and I guess he's achieving what he wants because he gets his name in the headlines. But the reality is, I hate the fact that my name is linked to his. He's an underachieving wanna-be in terms of success in the NHL. He won a Stanley Cup? Great. I've won six Stanley Cups, you want to count rings? Who cares, it's just a little pathetic that he carries on."
"Here's a fact," continued Lowe, "he left (former Canucks GM) Dave Nonis nothing in Vancouver. Nothing. He destroyed that team. If it wasn't for Nonis' incredible deals - to con Mike Keenan to get (Roberto) Luongo in Vancouver - that team was taking a nose dive two years ago.
"I mean, that's his M.O., but no one says anything. He goes into Anaheim and he inherits an incredible team. He gets Chris Pronger - not because of our relationship, it just so happened we had five or six teams and targeted their assets. We had Florida, Anaheim, Philadelphia, San Jose, and Los Angeles. He just happened to throw enough assets our way to get the player. Kudos to him. He recognizes that at the end of the day, you throw enough assets, you get the best player and you get a good deal. You never know in this business if you're going to win at the end of the day. He could have just decimated the franchise forever. I'll tell you this, they have not much coming. Bobby Ryan has been a questionable pick at No. 2 (overall in 2005), and up until this draft, they tried to move down and did a nice job of trying to replenish their depth chart. They had nothing coming, and that appears to be his M.O."
Aw, this is beautiful. I love it. It reminds me of "A Christmas Story" when Ralphie finally had enough of Scut Farkas and snapped. Lowe's verbal lashing was just as decisive.
Oddly enough, I used to rip on Burke all the time back in the day, but I actually kind of like him now. He just seems like the ornery old cuss at the end of the bar who drinks straight whiskey and says whatever the hell he wants because he just doesn't give a damn. So that's pretty cool. But in this instance, he couldn't be more wrong and deserved the beating.
The big rift between Burke and Lowe started last summer when Lowe signed Dustin Penner to a five-year, $21.5-million offer sheet. Burke was irate, apparently unwilling to accept the reality of restricted free agency. I mean, the nerve of Lowe, actually trying to do his job. Doesn't he realize he's morally obligated to collude with other NHL general managers to keep salaries low and defraud players?
Burke was negligent in his duties. He should have never let Penner reach restricted free agency. He (sunshined) up. But instead of accepting responsibility for the mistake, he chose to excoriate Lowe in the media, blaming the Edmonton GM for inflating player contracts and destroying the league's delicate salary structure.
When Burke re-signed Corey Perry to a new five-year deal worth $26.6 million, he turned what should have been a joyous occasion for Ducks fans into another bitch session, publicly bashing Lowe yet again for skyrocketing salaries. Insulted, Perry had to use 100-dollar bills to wipe away his tears.
If only Lowe could be more fiscally responsible like Burke. After all, giving a 38-year-old Mathieu Schneider $11 million over two years was genius and had no impact whatsoever on league contract values. And what other GM would have the foresight to give Todd Bertuzzi a two-year deal for $8 million? Yes, Burke truly is a visionary.
I'm hoping Lowe's barrage only escalates the hostilities. Screw maturity. I want to see these two go at it the rest of their careers. Or how about a backyard brawl on YouTube? That would be awesome. It would kind of look like Glass Joe versus King Hippo.