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Michael Russo's Short Takes

  • October 26, 2013 - 4:49 PM

Coming to his defense

Commissioner Gary Bettman upheld Buffalo’s Patrick Kaleta’s 10-game suspension and released a report supporting his decision.

Most fascinating is how it gave a glimpse of the NHL Players’ Association’s case in supporting Kaleta. The union in part blamed Columbus’ Jack Johnson, saying his positioning contributed to the hit and that Kaleta was doing his job as an “energy player.”

Remember, Johnson is a dues-paying member of the NHLPA, too, so it showed how fine a line the union has to walk sometimes to support one player who has been scolded for hurting another.

Changing image

New Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella knows the Canucks’ previous reputation of being a bunch of divers and whiners.

“Our team has already been talked to,” Tortorella said. “We are not going to dive. I don’t think there’s much whining going on, either. I’m certainly not trying to accuse the league or the refs of that, but I know there’s been a reputation. I have been coaching in the league long enough to know that sometimes that hangs around, too. So I guess it’s my chance to say we’re going to be an honest team … and I hope we get some calls.”

Too much talk

Montreal’s Lars Eller provided Edmonton with locker-room fodder when he said the Oilers “play a little bit like a junior team.” The Oilers then beat the Canadiens.

“They may as well have sent me over a basket of fruit and a bottle of wine,” Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. “I was like, ‘Man, this is perfect, a really great present from Mr. Eller.’ ”

• Tampa Bay Lightning superstar Steven Stamkos said it took nine hours to shoot the new Coke Zero commercial he appears in: “I think I’ll stick to hockey.”

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