Edmonton Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe tore into Brian Burke on Friday when he made an appearance on Edmonton’s Team 1260 radio station.
The two executives have been at odds since last year when Lowe made a five-year, $21.25 million offer sheet to Group II restricted free agent Dustin Penner that was not matched by Burke.
“Where do I begin?,” started Lowe. “He’s a moron, first of all. 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.”
“I mean, if he wants to debate what our offer sheet did to them or to the salaries, anytime,” he explained to Team 1260. “The reality is, Rick Nash’s contract a number of years ago, and (Patrice) Bergeron’s and (Ilya) Kovalchuk’s; that sets the standard – that’s been going on for decades. I’m sick and tired of it. 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 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.”
After repeatedly getting hit in the media by Burke over the past year, the rivalry peaked Wednesday when the Ducks signed their restricted free agent Corey Perry to a five-year extension worth $26.63 million. Burke then blamed Lowe for eliminating the middle contract between the entry-level deal and the big free agency contract normally received when a player has proven himself.
“I remember Dean Lombardi last summer saying to me, ‘You guys are (just) putting this on, you’re not really feeling this way. The NHL likes this stuff, they want to create a little angst in the media and stuff and get some headlines?’” recalled Lowe.
“I said, ‘No Dean, this is real.’ He was shocked that this was going on but Burkie loves the limelight. He’s all bluff and loud and Mac T (head coach Craig MacTavish) said it best… he’s like the Wizard of Oz, you pull the curtains away and there’s not much substance.”
Lowe then took a shot at Burke’s past dealings as head of the Vancouver Canucks.
“Here’s a fact – he left (former Canucks GM) Dave Nonis nothing in Vancouver,” he explained. “Nothing. He destroyed that team. If it wasn’t for Dave Nonis’ incredible deals to con Mike Keenan to get 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. As I recall at the time, 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. I mean 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 recent draft, they did a nice job of trying to replenish their depth chart. They had nothing coming, and that appears to be his M.O.”
“Don’t even ask me about Scott Niedermayer, I’ve already lowered myself in terms of (talking about) how they acquired him,” he said. “That’s all another story for another day, but they were able to bring Niedermayer and Pronger in and they won a Stanley Cup.”
“Anaheim has decent players – Corey Perry is a hell of a player,” he said. “What I really want to say about his bickering about parity and the salary cap is if you’re unhappy about them, then trade him (Perry) our way, we’ll be glad to have him.”