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Mike Comrie vs. Kevin Lowe

This is not a new story, by any stretch of the imagination. It was brought up again by player agent Rich Winter, commenting on Kevin Lowe's (in my opinion, baseless and rather silly) criticism of incoming Canucks GM Mike Gillis.

Lowe criticized Gillis for the actions of his client Michael Nylander, who after verbally agreeing to a contract abruptly changed his mind and subsequently signed with Washington. Winter's opinion was that this was a hypocritical statemtn coming from Lowe, based on his treatment of Bryan Murray.

In December 2003, Lowe was attempting to trade hold-out forward Mike Comrie (above). Comrie was a local boy who had some good moments in an Oilers uniform . I for one, remember a fantastic playoff overtime winner against Dallas, and his courage when he was physically targetted night after night. Still, Comrie's holdout rankled both fans and Kevin Lowe. (The holdout bothers me, and as for the Tommy Salo rumours, nothing was ever proven, so crucifying Comrie over something that may or may not have happened seems irresponsible to me)

Still, Lowe was sufficiently peeved that after negotiating the trade of Comrie to Anaheim for Corey Perry and a 1st round draft pick, he demanded a cash payment of 2.5 million dollars from Comrie. It was an irresponsible and high-handed move, and naturally Comrie refused to pay.

Bryan Murray, however, was convinced that he already had a deal made, and had been granted permission to negotiate a contract with Comrie, a contract that had already been hammered out at this point. When Lowe didn't recieve the money from Comrie, he abruptly cancelled the deal, a decision that hurt all parties involved. Lowe eventually traded Comrie to Philadelphia for Jeff Woywitka and a 1st and 3rd round draft pick.

Even if Lowe's treatment of Comrie was justifiable, his vindictiveness unfairly affected Bryan Murray and the Anaheim Ducks, who had negotiated in good faith and deserved to be treated in the same manner. In short, I completely agree that Lowe was a hypocrite for blasting Mike Gillis for actions that were decidedly less damaging than his own.