I have only a few seconds to put my two cents out there so here goes:
1. Backes and Bernier effectively were the same offer (Backes was just longer and the payout was different). So I don't know if you call this payback as much as you call it sending a message. Paybacks generally "are a bitch" and this was more along the painful lines of a papercut or stubbing your toe. Annoying stuff basically.
If St. Louis wanted real payback, they could have lost the first rounder and front loaded an obscene offer but since Bernier isn't worth that much (it would appear) this was the best they could do. GM's are a funny lot (but these two have a long way to go before they are in the Burke/Lowe club).
3. If Gillis REALLY wanted to send a message, he could have just let Bernier go. Look the offseason is already nearing the point of no return; is it really that much better to sign a project who just came to the team five days ago and has already gone the RFA route? Blame Gillis all you want, but Bernier should win little sympathy when (again) five days ago he was admitting he's out of shape and looking to help Vancouver and now does this. Or we can blame his agent, whatever.
4. That loud noise you just heard? That was Dave Nonis soiling himself with laughter.
5. And St. Louis? Calm the hell down over there. I mean, you got Weaver. Isn't that enough?