Thursday, July 3, 2008

When GM's Go Wild

I know I promised the Mina version of the "exciting" free agent "frenzy" (don't mind me, two days of no Teal Sharks might have clouded my opinion of Hockey Christmas) and I totally intend to do that. But when I was checking TSN to see if there was any news, I found the most wonderful article in the world. The whole wide world.

Brian "Nostradamus" Burke is blaming Kevin Lowe for all of the inflated salaries being tossed around during this free agency period. Awesome. Burke told the LA Times "You go right now from entry-level to what used to be the third contract, thanks to two offer sheets from Kevin Lowe." For those of you who were asleep in the back of the class, last season Lowe rolled the dice on giving a gigantic offer sheet to Thomas Vanek, which the Sabres eventually matched, keeping Vanek away from the clutches of Snidely Lowe. Thwarted in that evil plan, Lowe then turned his greedy eyes to the Anaheim Ducks and stole Dustin Penner with another gigantic offer sheet. (Thanks to AOL NHL Fanhouse for making these links easier to find.)

By taking Penner, Lowe launched a war of the words between himself and Burke that was downright hilarious to read. These are GMs who used to be very close friends and started behaving like elementary schoolers. My favorite line was "We're going to take the three picks, and given Kevin's recent (managerial) performance, we expect them to be excellent picks." Brian Burke: a modern day Shakespeare.

It is no real surprise to NHL fans that Kevin Lowe is a little free spending. I think the pensblog boys put it best with this comic. But in looking at the contracts that came across the wire over the last two days, it looks like more GMs are drinking the same Kool-aid. Brian Burke seems to think so. "They're all being re-signed at inflated prices....Everything I said a year ago has come true. Every single word." Yes, ladies and gentlemen. Brian Burke can tell the future. The terrible, horrible, MLB-like future. Rumor has it Sidney Crosby is thinking A Rod like number for his next contract.*

Kevin Lowe has been getting some wet kisses for his work this off-season and deservedly so. Visnovsky will be solid pick-up (and still a good deal for the Kings) and Erik Cole is another awesome trade. I think my favorite move is getting rid of Raffe Torres, but that is just because I can never forgive.
And I can tell you one thing for sure: I look forward to the Sharks playing Edmonton this year a whole lot less than usual.

But Burke has a good point. When GMs are worried that they are going to be outbid in some way, they are more likely to over pay. This comes from a some one who knows the meaning of overpayment. Burke is completly right in his assessment that one inflated salary affects every team in the league. There is a lot of pressure on GMs to get their team the Stanley Cup RIGHTNAONAONAOOMG!!! Gray spent the last two days reading over the frustration of Sharks fans concerning their GMs track record and I know they aren't unique. And if those GMs have to worry more about having their players or the ones they are interested in stolen by someone with a bigger pocket, they might make a deal they would later regret.

As much as it pains me to agree with the GM of the Ducks, I'm finding it impossible not to like a guy who says "If I had run my team into the sewer like that I wouldn't throw a grenade at the other 29 teams and my own indirectly," in print. Where real people can read it. Damn. I think I have a little crush growing.

* That rumor only hold true in my head. The wonderful place where hockey players make better money than baseball players and teachers get paid like they deserve. It as a wonderful, wonderful place.

** If being a history major taught me nothing, it taught me to cite my sources. Case in point: the one million links in this post. I like to think of it as investigative journalism. Cause it makes me feel better.

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