When then Edmonton Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe tendered an offer sheet to Dustin Penner of the Stanley Cup winning Anaheim Ducks in the summer of 2007, he had no idea the can of worms he had opened.
Despite offer sheets being a legal part of the collective bargaining agreement, and the Ducks ability to match the 5-year, $21.25M deal, Ducks GM Brian Burke was quite unhappy with Lowe, and for the next year he was very vocal about it.
Among Burke's comments were blows directed at Lowe, such as the following:
"If I had run my team into the sewer like that, I wouldn't throw a grenade at the other 29 teams and my own indirectly, so I have no intention of talking to him anytime soon."
"We're going to take the three picks, and given Kevin's recent performance, we expect them to be excellent picks."
"I think it's an act of desperation from a GM who's fighting to keep his job. This process is going to bite Edmonton in the butt someday."
Burke went on to say that if he wished to target an Edmonton Oiler for a trade, assistant GM Bob Murray could talk to Oilers brass in his place.
A year later, Lowe added more fuel to the fire when he had this to say:
"Where do I begin? He's a moron, first of all. Secondly, he believes that any news for the NHL is good news. Thirdly, he loves the limelight, and I don't think anyone in hockey will dispute that. Lastly, he's in a pathetic hockey market where they can't get on any page of the newspaper, let alone the front page of the sports, so any of this stuff carries on. This guy is an absolute media junkie, and I guess he's achieving what he wants because he gets his name in the headlines, but the reality is that I hate the fact that my name is linked to his because he's an under-achieving wannabe in terms of success in the NHL."
Lowe went on to say that Burke destroyed the Vancouver Canucks, and that the Ducks didn't have much coming.
In a recent interview, Burke said that the rivalry would have come to blows had NHL commissioner Gary Bettman not stepped in.
After Lowe called him out via radio, Burke asked New York Rangers GM Glen Sather to set up a fist fight between the two, claiming he would rent a barn for the affair.
The two have since put their differences aside, but it no doubt remains one of the most heated individual management rivalries the NHL has ever seen.