Don't tamper with Lowe and he won't tamper with you

Jonathan Willis
September 03 2008 04:16PM

According to Dan Wood of the Orange County Register (hat-tip to the good folks at Illegal Curve), the NHL has made a ruling in the tampering investigation requested by Brian Burke against Kevin Lowe.

As probably 95+ per cent of Oilers’ fans remember, after a year of biting his tongue despite Brian Burke’s repeated jabs, Lowe finally snapped in an interview on the Team 1260 (highlights here).

The comments that brought Burke’s request for an investigation are as follows:

“Corey Perry is a hell of a player. What I really want to say about his (Brian Burke’s) bickering about parity and the salary cap is if you’re unhappy about them, then trade him our way. We’ll be glad to have him.”

The request for an investigation was, in my opinion, hockey’s equivalent of a nuisance suit. While commenting on a player under contract to another team isn’t the smartest thing for an NHL general manager to do, it certainly didn’t amount to tampering (defined by Wikipedia as: “a practice, usually prohibited, of a team negotiating for the services of an athlete or coach contracted to another team without that team's permission”).

Naturally, though, Burke had more to say on the matter. Again courtesy of Dan Wood:

“The league investigated and informed us that in their opinion, it did not constitute tampering,” Burke said. “The league ruled it was inappropriate commentary but was not tampering, which is a bizarre construction. In other words, either you cross the line or you don’t. Needless to say, we have a different view, but this will end the matter.”

I’d comment on Burke’s latest comments, but in all honesty, what’s the point? The moderation and classiness on display from the man has been consistent since his first vitriol-spewing news conference, immediately after Penner was signed, and it’s all been said before.

—Jonathan Willis is the owner of Copper & Blue, a blog dedicated to all things Oil, and a frequent contributor to OilersNation.com.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Earl Sleek
September 03 2008, 05:17PM
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Way to stay above the bickering.

Oh wait, never mind, saw your photo label. Well, way to claim to stay above the bickering.

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#2 Jonathan
September 03 2008, 05:32PM
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I didn't pick the photo.

That said, I also never claimed to be above the bickering ;)

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#3 Earl Sleek
September 03 2008, 05:49PM
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My bad.

"That said, I also never claimed to be above the bickering."

That's true. I probably just assumed that from your criticism of Burke's lack of class that you were in favor of acting differently.

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#4 Earl Sleek
September 03 2008, 06:11PM
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Sorry Jonathan, I didn't mean that to sound as harsh as it did. Still, it's tough for me to read this post -- that photo contradicts the points you make in the piece.

You know BoC -- we're all about name-calling and shenanigans -- I guess I'm not in favor of calling other people classless for it in the same breath.

So yeah, I'll just ignore the picture. It reads much better that way.

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#5 mc79hockey
September 03 2008, 06:48PM
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“The league ruled it was inappropriate commentary but was not tampering, which is a bizarre construction. In other words, either you cross the line or you don’t. Needless to say, we have a different view, but this will end the matter.”

I like how the league politely said "This is a waste of our time" and Burke complains that their statement doesn't make any sense. I guess he'd be happier with "What a fucking waste of our time. Piss off, or we'll suspend you, just like we did your owner."

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#6 oilman
September 03 2008, 07:12PM
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NHL: "You always need to have the last word don't you"

Burke: "No I don't"

NHL "There, see...right there, you did it again"

Burke "No I didn't"

NHL: "One more word and we'll have to fine you"

Burke: "OK OK - no more words...you won't hear another word from me on the subject if that's the way you feel about it....I'll just stop talking right now..............................................................I don't need to have the last word."

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#7 lowetide
September 03 2008, 08:33PM
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I don't know why people don't like Burke. He's an honest, self-effacing megalomaniac.

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#8 jdrevenge
September 04 2008, 08:03AM
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Dear Earl,

I'm wondering if I'm missing some inside joke or something between you and Jonathan...

Burke is classless...whats wrong with saying that?

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#9 milli
September 04 2008, 08:20AM
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I like how the league politely said “This is a waste of our time” and Burke complains that their statement doesn’t make any sense. I guess he’d be happier with “What a fucking waste of our time. Piss off, or we’ll suspend you, just like we did your owner"

yep.

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#10 OregonStateFan
September 04 2008, 08:24AM
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Why do I have this funny feeling that even though KLowe is no longer GM, Burkey will find some way to toss a jab at him or complain to the league?

Oh wait, he just did that.

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#11 Addicted-to-oil
September 04 2008, 10:09AM
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Thanks for putting this out there. I was waiting to see what Burke's response would be. What a joker.

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#12 Bruce
September 04 2008, 04:43PM
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Hey, at least you found a pic of Burke with his mouth closed. Well, almost closed, looks at least like he's taking a breath before his next salvo.

Your next challenge is to find a photo of Burkie without a microphone in his face.

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