After reading about Kevin Lowe’s absolutely delightful bitch-slapping of Brian Burke, we have just two thoughts. The first is that we’re very impressed at Lowe finally growing a pair and taking some solid swings in Burke’s direction after a year of letting Burke make him into a laughingstock (although we suspect it took Lowe a full year to formulate what he wanted to say. He doesn’t seem like the kind who’s very good with the snappy comeback, and it’s just Burke’s fault for continuing to belabor the “Kevin Lowe is a nincompoop” point long enough to give Lowe time to think up a retort beyond just “I’m rubber and you’re glue — whatever you say bounces off me and sticks on you”). The second is, of course, “Wait, what’s this about Niedermayer?”
There are probably a lot of people out there who are tantalized by the suggestion that there were some Nefarious Goings-On behind the Ducks signing Nieder in 2005, and really, there are countless possibilities that Lowe could be hinting at. What we’re listing here today, though, are a handful of the most probable possibilities. We mean, Lowe might be suggesting Burke had aliens abduct Nieder and melt his brain with gamma-ray guns, but we find that highly unlikely. More likely? These:
— Burke disguised Dan McGillis in a Scott Niedermayer costume, and then sent him to sign with the Devils. As soon as the ink was dry on his contract, McGillis tore off his latex mask and whipped a small tape recorder out of his pocket, which he used to broadcast Burke’s pre-recorded cackles of glee and long, monologuing proclamation that he, not Lou, is the greatest GM in all the land.
— Burke tied Scott Niedermayer’s framed portrait of himself hoisting the Stanley Cup over Mt. Logan to a railroad track then monologued that he wouldn’t free it until Niedermayer signed a contract with the Ducks. The monologuing dragged on long enough for Neider to stealthily crept to the tracks and quietly untie his precious, precious vanity shot, freeing without signing any paperwork. When Niedermayer triumphantly announced he’d undone Burke’s plan, Burke promptly sued him for breech of an implied contract. Niedermayer appealed, but the rest of the NHL brass, google-eyed over and in awe of Burke’s big bag law degree, informed Niedermayer, “He’s right, Scott. You’re a Duck now.”
— Burke kidnapped Ken Daneyko, then, at the conclusion of a long, “I’m a criminal mastermind” monologue, demanded Nieder from Lou as ransom.
— Burke framed the New Jersey Devils defense corps for a string of small-town bank robberies. Thanks to his influence with the League front offices, Lou managed to avoid any suspensions or jail time for his regulars, but in compensation, he was forced to let Nieder go. The league then held a closed-door, secret Niedermayer lottery, which Burke rigged by freezing all the ping-pong balls but Anaheim’s; when Bettman went to draw the ping-pong balls he remembered the scandal surrounding his mentor’s frozen-envelope draft lottery fiasco in the NBA back in 1985, so he picked the only room-temperature ball in the field. Bettman didn’t notice Burke’s monologuing about what a genius he is because it’s like white noise when the GMs meet.
— Burke drugged the sugary sweet that’s Lou’s one weakness — Sno-Balls — and while Lou was passed out from tainted Sno-Ball consumption, smuggled an all-too willing Niedermayer out of New Jersey while tearing up the Lifetime Devil contract Niedermayer had signed while high a day earlier (and monologuing about his own genius).
— Burke left a series of fake voice mail messages for Nieder in his Lou impersonation, making it sound as though Lou was insulting Nieder and vowing to make the Devils as bad as he possibly can as long as Nieder’s under contract. He managed to hang up before he started monologuing.
— The sheer, overwhelming force of Burke’s douchebaggery was more than Nieder’s douchebag-lovin’ heart could resist. And what’s more nefarious than that?