The feud between Dave Nonis and Bob Clarke just got ratcheted up a few notches as Nonis vented his frustrations over the Flyer GM’s scheming over Ryan Kesler.
Nonis met the Vancouver media in Vernon after Day one of the Canucks training camp, and waded into the debate over Ryan Kesler’s recent winfall of extra dollars thanks to the meddling of Bob Clarke.
Nonis, who was faced with surrendering what the Canucks feel could be a key player of the future chose instead to match Clarkes 1.9 million dollar offer to the restricted free agent. Making Kesler one of the most richly rewarded ten goal scorers in NHL history.
This in effect doubled Kessler’s salary, as it was reported that Nonis was only inclined to offer him roughly 50% less than the amount they ended up cutting a deal for. Clarke made the offer, the first for a restricted free agent since 1999, earlier this week and unleashed a torrent of backlash across the NHL.
Having broken an unofficial rule of the GM’s, Clarke remained unapologetic as the nasty words flew and his reputation took a trashing, all for upping the financial ante in a league that is learning to live with a salary cap.
One rumour making the rounds today was that Clarke was providing a bit of payback to the Canucks for suspected attempts to lure coach Ken Hitchcock back to the West Coast. A story that hasn’t found any traction but makes for a wonderful bit of theatre as Clarke waits until the last minute to unleash his secret weapon. Which if true, must make new head coach Alain Vigneault feel good about things, number one behind the bench but number two in the Canucks hearts.
An extremely talkative Nonis, took his rhetoric beyond the normal hockey platitudes on Friday saying that “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," Nonis said Friday at the Canucks training camp. "That's what it comes down to”
A quote that will no doubt gain the attention of Mr. Clarke, who as history has shown has a bit of a temper. Nonis had best keep an eye on those corners and be wary of Clarke should he have a hockey stick in his hands the next time that they meet.
The unfortunate thing to all of this is, that unless the Canucks and Flyers meet in the Stanley Cup finals (a most unlikely event if ever there was one this year) then they won’t play each other at all this year.
Which is too bad, because I for one was looking forward to Take your Granny to the game night.
It would have been a marketing dream for both teams.