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ARTHUR:
It's a quiet and civil war of words brewing between Ducks GM Bob Murray and Syracuse Crunch owner Howard Dolgon, but it's hard not to read a growing enmity between the franchises in the dueling statements to the press.

Bob Murray's decision to put soon healthy forward Jason Jaffray and leave now healthy and recently acquired forward Joel Perrault with the Manitoba Moose-- and, of course, the statement, regarding Perrault, "why move him?" --seem insensitive, at best, to the cellar-dwelling Crunch.

So, is Bob Murray legitimately worried about the career of the 27 year old Perrault, the former 2001 5th round pick of the Mighty Ducks, who has made only one NHL assignment stick in 96 games played and eight years as a pro?

No, not likely. But does this subterfuge serve to hide some sinister intent to prolong the suffering or embarrassment of the Ducks' AHL franchise? No, also not likely.

Is it then possible that Murray has a gentleman's agreement with his former friends in the Canucks organization, the same friends who helped him place his prospects when he was without an affiliate last year?

Well, yeah, that kind of makes the most sense.

I'm not saying for sure that's what happened, and judging from the reaction of Crunch owner Howard Dolgon, if that is what happened, Murray isn't telling, but that motivation makes the most logical sense.

I can't believe that the development of Joel Perrault is more important to Murray than that of first rounder Kyle Palmieri, NHL part-timer Nick Bonino or second rounder Mat Clark. But the addition to the Vancouver lineup of Maxim Lapierre, and bolstering the Moose lineup with MacGregor Sharp, Jason Jaffray AND a returning Joel Perrault seems absolutely important to the development of Canucks first rounders Jordan Schroeder and Cody Hodgson.

Would it be a crime for Murray to repay old debts? No. And is a one-sided deal equivalent payment to the old boys network that helped him place Dan Sexton, Mat Clark and other key Ducks players last year? Maybe. Maybe that and more. Maybe they owe him one, now.

And yet, the anger from Crunch fans is palpable and understandable. Murray's comments, should you take them at face value, are troubling. But you can't really take Murray at face value.

He can't really be saying that the development of a single player is more important to him than the success, even short term, of the Crunch. Were he to say such a thing, were he to believe such a thing, he should be talking about first rounder Kyle Palmieri, NHL part-timer Nick Bonino or second rounder Mat Clark.

So I prefer to believe that Murray is thinking of the development of first rounders Jordan Schroeder and Cody Hodgson, repaying a favor to some old friends and perhaps looking to future trade deadlines, when a solid will need to be paid the other way.

But is it vital that he tell SOMEONE or put forth a viable and less inflammatory position before the press and for the sake of the affiliation?

Well, yeah, that kind of makes the most sense.