"I was told a long time ago that Bob Clarke would kick his grandmother down a flight of stairs if it would give him a better chance of winning. That's what it comes down to." - Dave Nonis, former Vancouver Canucks GM, Sept. 2006
To review: Signing another team's young RFA center, like Clarke did when he inked Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks to a $1.9 million dollar offer sheet, is a hockey transgression in line with "kicking your own grandmother down a flight of stairs."
If that's the case, then Canucks GM Mike Gillis just punted granny down a few floors.
St. Louis has seven days to match the deal or accept a 2nd round draft pick as compensation. Just two days ago, Backes was mentioned as having a "yet-to-be-finalized contract" with the Blues. And earlier in June, columnist Jeff Gordon actually wrote that the Blues didn't have to worry about a Kesler-like situation, with Backes coming off an unremarkable season. Over on the STLtoday.com boards, the St. Louis fans are debating whether their team should match.
Backes has 23 goals and 54 points in 121 career NHL games, and he skated into our hearts here at Puck Daddy for this fight in the IIHF World Championships with Amsso Salmela of Finland, in which we feared he was going to unleash an ECW kendo stick attack:
Now, just two years after the Canucks cried foul about RFA poaching, he's made a play for someone else's investment. (We actually have no problem with this break in good 'ole boys etiquette, but it does seem rather hypocritical taken within historical context. Even if it was Nonis whining.)
No wonder no one wants to be Gillis's friend.