The Vancouver Canucks, who missed the Stanley Cup playoffs by a million skillion points this year, still did the best work of any team in the NHL. With no games scheduled, they:
* Got Calgary general manager Brian Burke to tell their head coach, John Tortorella, to “keep his mouth shut” after Torts savaged Calgary coach Bob Hartley for yet another time Sunday night, saying, "It's embarrassing to coach against the guy across from me tonight. Some of the things that went on when Danny (Sedin) was hurt, it's embarrassing. I don't like the way he does business. I don't like him, and eventually I guess why I am talking about it in this way is because I need to protect my players and a lot of people don't understand that, so I'll just leave it at that.”
Burke’s response, which also included this testimonial, "John Tortorella was on my staff for the Olympics in 2010. He's a good guy. I don't know what's going on in his head, but you know what? Shut your mouth and worry about your team. Leave my coach alone," was in response to Hartley complaining to the referees about a penalty to Paul Byron after he hit Sedin. “Bob had the temerity and the audacity to argue with the officials for these penalties while Daniel Sedin was on the ice. No one likes to see a player get hurt. We hear Daniel is fine, which is great news, but that is when Bob has to argue that. What Bob Hartley did last night was exactly what John Tortorella would have done had it been one of our players lying on the ice and he felt there was an inequity in the penalty calls.”
• Got Tortorella to have some fun at the expense of TSN’s Farhan Lalji, who began a question to Tortorella with, “Mike . . .”
“I’m not Mike, sorry,” he said laughing. “Ian, you got a question?” (Back to Lalji). No. You are done. You are done. You. Are. Done. Go ahead . . . a—hole." Then he asked, "Are we live?” a detail he should have probably already known. And finally, after answering Lalji’s question, he said, “And I was just kidding with that name.”
No word on whether Burke would have been similarly exempted.
• And Canuck David Booth tweeted out his wedding plans, which you should know:
“We are getting married in a field where I shot my biggest deer. I want the deer head in the wedding somehow.”
As for his honeymoon, he is going with a Mediterranean cruise. “I couldn't take her on a hunting trip.”
But he is packing the deer head for the amorous ambience.
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Michael Phelps is coming out of retirement with an eye toward swimming at a fifth Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. He will compete in Mesa later this month, his first competition since the 2012 London Games. His coach, Bob Bowman, told AP that Phelps is entered in three events -- the 50- and 100-meter freestyles and the 100 butterfly, and then kind of lost his nut. “I think he's just going to test the waters a little bit and see how it goes (really? “test the waters?”). I wouldn't say it's a full-fledged comeback.”
Well, it isn’t a half-fledged one either, Mr. Test The Waters. So try a little harder next time.
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I know which way I’m betting on this one, and it isn’t against Phil Ivey, because he never loses at cards.
The Borgata in Atlantic City has filed a federal lawsuit against Ivey, claiming that the professional gambler cheated the casino out of nearly $10 million during high-stakes baccarat play. Ivey visited the Borgata several times in 2012, and according to the suit, Ivey insisted that the casino use purple Gemaco playing cards, and the Borgata now claims that Ivey exploited a defect in the backs of those playing cards to his advantage.
Well, to our good friends at the Borgata, whom we have never met nor enjoyed their hospitality, being the low rollers we are, let us say this:
Shut up and use Bicycle next time. If it’s good enough for those of us who don’t pay attention, it should be good enough for you.
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And finally, today’s Why Soccer Is Just Better – two former teammates at Sampdoria now hate each other because one of them is now dating the other’s ex-girlfriend. To quote the noted broadcasting deity Ray Hudson, "MAGISTERIAL!"
Argentinians Maxi Lopez and Mauro Icardi were teammates last season, and during that time Lopez’s marriage to model Wanda Nara fell apart and Icardi swooped in. Which is fine as these things go, I guess, but Icardi and Nara have been very public about their budding relationship on social media with all sorts of photos along with some that include Lopez’s three young children. The couple has each tattooed the other’s name on their body and they’re now engaged.
Plus, according to Paolo Baldini of The Guardian, “They caused a stir in November by exchanging a series of tweets using the dreaded hashtag #Quindicina – reportedly a reference to the fact they had made love 15 times during a frantic 28-hour stay together in Argentina.”
Sunday Icardi, now with Inter Milan, faced off against Sampdoria. In the pregame handshake lines Lopez blatantly snubbed his former friend. And frankly, with no apparent gunfire, they both got off very lightly indeed.
Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com