Philadelphia Flyers outspoken GM Bobby Clarke has had a busy week.
After a long summer of negotiations, the GM basically caved and gave winger Simon Gagne both the dollars and length he was looking for. It surprised many who saw Gagne as a potential training camp holdout. The way the two parties had been talking, the gap between offers was of canyon like proportions.
Within days of the Gagne news, Clarke, who all along had been claiming money was tight, did another pirouette into senselessness and tended an offer sheet to Canucks RFA Ryan Kesler to the tune of 1.9M.
He then spent the following day deflecting criticism he felt was unwarranted. In an interview on TSN, Clarke was in vintage vilifying form. Here are some of the better quotes he unleashed.
"I don't give a fricking excrement (expletive altered) if nobody likes me, I could care less. But they shouldn't be getting mad at me, I didn't put the rule in the collective bargaining agreement. If they're mad, they should call Bettman and complain to him. He's in charge of the rules, not me. I didn't realize there were some rules we're not allowed to use."
"I'm trying to make my team better. There's a rule that says we can put out offer sheets. So I did it. You know, it's funny, they made new rules so we're operating in a system where we all get to spend the same amount of money. Those are the rules. We all live by them. No one can accuse Philadelphia of spending more money than everyone else now. But when I go and use a rule that is there, everybody is all over me about it."
"To me, our thinking is completely backward. I lost Kim Johnsson to free agency because the Minnesota Wild gave him $4.8 million. Well, the Flyers had to give revenue sharing money to Minnesota and other teams and I don't like that but it's the rules. And then Minnesota takes that money and signs my player and there are no rules to say I can keep him if I match. I wish I had all the options with Kim Johnsson that Vancouver has with Kesler. They can match and keep him or they can let him go. It's up to them."
"Everyone says it's causing salaries to go up. That's crap. We've all got salary caps and if it is true it drives up salaries, well, doesn't Boston signing (Zdeno) Chara to a $7 million deal or Chicago signing (Martin) Havlat to a $6 million deal drive up salaries, too? Give me a break.
Earlier in the day, Clarke met with captain Keith Primeau over beers at Schultzies Bar to discuss the players plans on returning to action. Rosie the Bartender, with a keen ear for gossip, relates the following exchanges between the GM and the captain.
KP: I'm feeling really good.
BC: How many ya had?
KP: No, I mean I feel I can practice now - with the team!
BC: That's not what you said yesterday.
KP: What did I say yesterday?
BC: Just the opposite.That you felt like crap.You were leaning towards retiring. (Shot upside the head by Clarke) Remember?
KP: No, I feel good I never said that! I said...
BC: You think you can practice. Well that's just fucking gr...do you know I'm signing Simon, right?
KP: Simon...? (Another whack to the temple) Oh, that Simon!
BC: Yeah I'm committed now. Face it, you can't play. You're done. We're done with you!
KP: I can so! (Thump) I could beat you at a game of pool.
BC: Okay, for chrissakes! We'll decide it that way then!
KP: Hey, I never said that! (Twack)
BC: Rack 'em up, pussy! Sorry, did I hit you with the cue?
KP: Nice break! Hey, watch it (Crack) with that flipping (Crunch) cue.
BC: Go ahead, you're low.
KP: I'm feeling a tad dizzy, Bobby! (Thump) Three ball in the corner.
BC: Nice try, you shot at the 6, by the way!
KP: Well how many balls are the same color?
BC: All of 'em Keith! We're playing 9 ball, remember?
KP: Am I high or low? (Thwack, Thump)
BC: Keith! It's nine ball, ya doze!
KP: Okay then, why do I count 13 then?
BC: Listen, ( Crack) you hard headed (Thump) sonafabitch! (Crunch) You're gonna quit (Pop) like I told you, (Twack) dammit. Okay?
KP: (Getting off the floor) Did I win?
BC: Yeah Keith, you did. Kicked my ass too. You win. You can retire, I won't stop you now.
KP: That's geat Bobby, thanks man. Hey, got anything for a killer headache?