ALSO ON SLAM!
Wednesday, November 10, 1999
GM applauds Sens
Canucks' Burke says Yashin won't 'win this war'
Brian Burke wasn't pulling any punches yesterday and he thinks by the time Senators are finished with Alexei Yashin, the star centre won't have a leg to stand on.
"I believe everybody in pro sports is going to be watching this fight, because by the time this one is over it's going to set a precedent for the future," the outspoken Canucks GM told the Sun last night.
"It's pretty clear the Senators are going to win this one and the next time a guy in the NFL decides to welch on his contract like Yashin is, he's going to see the precedent set here and he's going to think twice about it.
"I think the move Rod Bryden has made is terrific and I applaud it. I'm behind them 100% and so is everybody else in the league -- but especially because they're a Canadian team and this is so important for us."
While many might remember Burke as the man who was forced to trade star winger Pavel Bure to Florida last year because of a contract dispute, he was quick to make the point this fight is different.
"Pavel Bure came to this organization three times privately and requested a trade. Had he done what Yashin is doing and just ignored his contract, then I would have made him sit on his butt just like the Senators are doing with Yashin," said Burke.
"You have to send a message to these players that they can't just ignore a contract and then have your right to free agency. There's got to be common sense involved here and I can't see a chance that Alexei Yashin is going to win this war."
Not everybody from the league was as outspoken as Burke. Many declined comment because they know this is going to be a legal battle -- especially if Yashin reports and attempts to force Ottawa to rescind the suspension.
"All I can tell you, and I want to be careful about commenting on what other teams do, is that we'll all be watching with great interest. We really will," said Maple Leafs assistant GM Bill Watters.