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Oilers GM Kevin Lowe fires back at Brian Burke over offer sheets

EDMONTON - After a year of being criticized by Anaheim Ducks general manager Brian Burke for resurrecting the offer sheet, Kevin Lowe has shot back.

In an interview with Edmonton sports station Team 1260, the Oilers GM gave a blunt response to Burke's complaints about the Oilers US$21.25-million, five-year offer sheet made to restricted free agent Dustin Penner in 2007.

"I mean, if he wants to debate what our offer sheet did to them or to the salaries, anytime," Lowe said. "The reality is, Rick Nash's contract a number of years ago, (Patrice) Bergeron's and (Ilya) Kovalchuk's; that sets the standard - that's been going on for decades. I'm sick and tired of it. I know everybody in hockey is."

Burke, reached by The Canadian Press Friday night, declined to respond to Lowe's comments.

Lowe went on to add he lamented being associated with bringing back the offer sheet - which is a contract offer to a restricted free agent. The Oilers made two of them last summer, including to Penner which the Ducks did not match.

Lowe's comments come after Burke renewed his attack Wednesday, telling the Los Angeles Times that the rise in young player salaries can be traced to Lowe's offer sheets.

"You go right now from entry-level to what used to be the third contract, thanks to two offer sheets from Kevin Lowe," Burke said.

Lowe's offer sheet to Penner was the first accepted deal since Tampa Bay Lightning centre Chris Gratton signed a $16.5-million, five-year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers in 1997.

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