Cam Cole: Canucks-Panthers small ‘brawl’ no brouhaha, more a tepid tussle

 

 
 
 
 
Players from the Vancouver Canucks and the Florida Panthers mix it up a bit in a ‘small brawl’ — not the real McCoy — following the Canucks’ 3-2 overtime win in their NHL game at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena on Monday, Jan. 11, 2016.
 
 

Players from the Vancouver Canucks and the Florida Panthers mix it up a bit in a ‘small brawl’ — not the real McCoy — following the Canucks’ 3-2 overtime win in their NHL game at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena on Monday, Jan. 11, 2016.

Photograph by: JONATHAN HAYWARD, THE CANADIAN PRESS

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VANCOUVER — Items that may grow up to be columns, Vol. XVIII, Chapter 2:

CALM DOWN: More than one Twitter contributor referred to the post-game contretemps around the Florida Panthers’ bench Monday night in Vancouver as a “brawl,” which shows how far hockey has advanced in the past 20 years or so.

Actual brawls don’t really exist any more. What happened after the game was over can’t even be called “bench-clearing” because the benches are emptying anyway.

What we had, after Daniel Sedin’s exaggerated, arms-up, in-your-face stare at the Florida bench following his game-winning overtime goal, was no brawl. It was a gathering of indignant people, a few of them shoving, one or two prodding with their sticks, another perhaps squirting a water bottle. And Derek Dorsett.

“Much ado about nothing,” said Florida GM Dale Tallon, on TSN 1040 radio. “It was like a baseball fight.”

There was such a limited amount of ranygazoo, it wasn’t within a country mile of a donnybrook. We would accept either “skirmish” or “tussle” as revised estimates.

STIRRING THE POTVIN: Daniel’s post-goal stare was so infuriating to Florida colour commentator Denis Potvin that he said on the air, “What a lowlife!” About a Sedin. And then made some confused comment about the Sedins pointing fingers they usually only use “to lick the peanut butter off their bread.”

To sum up: Yes, Potvin was overcome with homerism.

This, presumably, is a natural consequence of being a paid bootlicker and getting overly close to the team that he’s supposed to be covering, but many excellent commentators seem able to resist going completely over the edge. For Potvin to soil himself thus, after a Hall of Fame playing career, is kind of embarrassing.

AN ACTUAL BROUHAHA: That’s what is unfolding between the newly hirsute NHL commissioner Gary Bettman — who appears to be enhancing his tough talk with an early start on a playoff beard — and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who flipped a verbal bird in Bettman’s direction Monday after the commish used a Chamber of Commerce speech to lecture the mayor for failing to support an $890-million arena/stadium complex proposal.

Many an NHL market will be familiar with these admonitions from Bettman, whose tried-and-true routine is to blow into town — usually at the invitation of well-heeled corporate types allied with the team owners, or the owners themselves — read the riot act, get the citizenry all riled up, and (in several previous cases) ever-so-subtly leave some to wonder whether there isn’t a veiled threat of relocation lurking back there. The end game, for commissioners of all North American pro sports, is always a new facility built largely at public expense, and many a city has caved.

ON THE OTHER HAND: In Calgary’s case, Bettman at least has an argument. The Saddledome and McMahon Stadium will shortly be the oldest buildings in their leagues. Although Nenshi is right to resist the inevitable appeal for more and more of the cost (and overruns) to be borne by the government, an Olympic city that’s probably going to get the Games back by default one of these days probably ought to get on its horse.

STAYING OUT FRONT: The Stanley Cup-champion Chicago Blackhawks didn’t get to the top and stay there by failing to lock up their principal performers. One of them is head coach Joel Quenneville, who’s pretty much the sharpest knife in the coaching drawer and just got a three-year extension, through 2020. You should be delighted for him, or any coach who earns long-term job security in these trigger-happy times.

LESSON, NEVER LEARNED: If you hire creeps, they are apt to act like creeps at the moments of highest stress. So don’t shed any tears for Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis. He knew what he had in idiot linebacker Vontaze Burfict long before that penalty for trying to behead Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown in the closing moments of Saturday night’s AFC wild-card playoff game. A long list of priors never worries NFL clubs, who value nothing higher than wins, so they keep giving human time bombs like Burfict and Adam (Pacman) Jones a stage on which to explode at an inopportune moment, and then act surprised and disappointed when they do.

HEAD OF THE CLASS: With the latest revelations of how long the IAAF knew of the scale and danger to athletes of Russian doping abuses, international track and field’s world ruling body is well on its way to erasing FIFA’s seemingly insurmountable lead in the Dirtiest Federation race. Way to go, IAAF. Never give up, never say die.

LAST, AND LEAST: For reasons unexplainable, I didn’t get the genius of David Bowie at all, even though his musical peak era was right in my wheelhouse, and I completely whiffed on Rush. Couldn’t name a song they recorded until people started calling them rock icons, and had to look them up on Google. See email address below for where to send incredulous/abusive messages.

ccole@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/rcamcole

 
 
 
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Players from the Vancouver Canucks and the Florida Panthers mix it up a bit in a ‘small brawl’ — not the real McCoy — following the Canucks’ 3-2 overtime win in their NHL game at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena on Monday, Jan. 11, 2016.
 

Players from the Vancouver Canucks and the Florida Panthers mix it up a bit in a ‘small brawl’ — not the real McCoy — following the Canucks’ 3-2 overtime win in their NHL game at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena on Monday, Jan. 11, 2016.

Photograph by: JONATHAN HAYWARD, THE CANADIAN PRESS

 
Players from the Vancouver Canucks and the Florida Panthers mix it up a bit in a ‘small brawl’ — not the real McCoy — following the Canucks’ 3-2 overtime win in their NHL game at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena on Monday, Jan. 11, 2016.
Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo uses his stick during a ‘small brawl’ following the Canucks’ 3-2 overtime win in their NHL game at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena on Monday, Jan. 11, 2016.
Players from the Vancouver Canucks and the Florida Panthers mix it up a bit in a ‘small brawl’ — not the real McCoy — following the Canucks’ 3-2 overtime win in their NHL game at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena on Monday, Jan. 11, 2016.
Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo uses his stick during a ‘small brawl’ following the Canucks’ 3-2 overtime win in their NHL game at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena on Monday, Jan. 11, 2016.
Vancouver Canucks left-winger Daniel Sedin (22) celebrates his game-winning goal with his team following the Canucks’ 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers in their NHL game at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena on Monday, Jan. 11, 2016.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman gestures during a question and answer session at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce in Calgary, Alta., on Monday, Jan. 11, 2016.
In this June 7, 2015, file photo, Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville smiles as he talks during a news conference in Chicago. The Chicago Blackhawks have given a three-year contract extension to Quenneville, locking up the highly successful coach through the 2019-20 season.
Vontaze Burfict of the Cincinnati Bengals reacts to an official’s call during the third quarter of their AFC wild card playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016 in Cincinnati. The Bengals lost 18-16 to the Steelers.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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