Friday, August 03, 2007

Burkie Stands Pat

Brian Burke is notorious especially here in Vancouver for his obnoxious demeanor and no-nonsense attitude in the media, but if you look underneath all of his shenanigans, you will find a very intelligent and extremely competent General Manager.

Yesterday, “Burkie” and his defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks declined to match the Edmonton Oilers' five-year, $21.25 million offer sheet for winger Dustin Penner. Consequently, Penner is headed off to the river city, more commonly known as Deadmonton, err sorry, Edmonton while the Ducks receive the Oilers' first, second and third round picks as compensation. The deal makes Dustin Penner Edmonton’s new highest paid forward, which should to be a fairly accurate indication of where the Oilers’ currently stand.

I’ll have to acknowledge the fact that Dustin Penner is a very talented hockey player with boat loads of potential. At times last season, he showed signs that he is indeed capable of becoming a dominant power forward in the National Hockey League. But in all seriousness, he certainly does not deserve to be the highest paid forward on any team in this league (yes, even the lowly Edmonton Oilers). Penner lacks the speed to excel in the “New NHL” and found himself in coach Randy Carlyle’s doghouse one more than one occasion through the course the 2006-07 regular season and playoffs.

What Oilers’ General Manager Kevin Lowe was thinking when he mustered up this borderline farcical offer is beyond me. It almost seems as though he is looking to run his team down the drain. This deal absolutely reeks of despair from the Lowe’s front, and it’s almost amusing to watch as the glorious Edmonton Oilers of old become the new laughing stock of the NHL.

Picture this. The Edmonton Oilers have yet another disgraceful season and proceed to win the draft lottery. Low and behold, they essentially threw away their first round draft pick to the Ducks who now have the opportunity to draft phenom John Tavares (should he become eligible) or Steve Stamkos. I wonder if Kevin Lowe would still stand by this illogical offer then.

I’ll admit that when I first started this blog post, it was meant to praise Brian Burke and his decision not to match the Edmonton Oilers’ offer sheet for Dustin Penner. But when you look at the Oilers’ current state of affairs, it only seems appropriate to take a couple of shots at the expense of our Northwest divisional rivals, because be assured that if the Canucks were in the same situation (which they thankfully are not), Oilers fans would do the same.

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