Canucks coach Tortorella gets 15-day suspension
The league suspended Vancouver coach John Tortorella without pay for 15 days on Monday for his conduct after a brawl between the Canucks and the Calgary Flames.
Tortorella went to Calgary’s locker room at intermission after the first period Saturday night, which began with several fights and four game misconducts per team. Vancouver won the game 3-2 in a shootout.
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Tortorella’s suspension runs through Feb. 2. He will miss six games, starting Tuesday night in Edmonton.
Tortorella is not allowed to have any interaction with the Canucks before, during or after games during that span.
“Mr. Tortorella’s actions in attempting to enter the Calgary Flames locker room after the first period were both dangerous and an embarrassment to the league,” Colin Campbell, NHL senior executive vice president of hockey operations, said in a statement. “Coaches in the NHL bear the responsibility of providing leadership, even when emotions run high, and Mr. Tortorella failed in his responsibility to the game.”
Tortorella blamed Flames coach Bob Hartley for starting his fourth line, saying he couldn’t put Canucks standouts Daniel and Henrik Sedin at risk to deflate the situation. Hartley was fined $25,000 by the NHL.
It is the second career suspension for Tortorella, who missed Game 6 of the 2009 Eastern Conference quarterfinals as coach of the New York Rangers for throwing a water bottle into the stands in Washington. He is in his first season as coach of the Canucks (25-16-9).
Meanwhile, the Canucks also will be without Henrik Sedin for Tuesday’s game in Edmonton. The forward’s consecutive-games streak will end at 679 because of bruised ribs; he is listed as day to day.
Sedin’s streak ranks sixth in NHL history. Retired forward Doug Jarvis has the record of 964 consecutive games played.
Overbay gets a chance
Lyle Overbay, a former Centralia High School standout, has signed a minor-league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers that includes an invitation to big-league camp in spring training.
Overbay, 36, has a .267 batting average in 13 major-league seasons. He hit .240 with 14 homers and drove in 59 runs in 142 games with the New York Yankees last year. Overbay played for Milwaukee in 2004 and 2005, hitting .289 with 35 homers and 159 RBI during those two seasons.
Overbay is a candidate to play first base.
Brewers general manager Doug Melvin was quoted by MLB.com as saying, “It’s a position where we may have to mix and match with Overbay, (Mark) Reynolds, Juan Francisco. We’ve got numbers now to work with and guys can come into camp and be competitive.”
Russians study video threat
Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee is studying a video posted by an Islamic militant group that asserted responsibility for suicide bombings that killed 34 people last month and is threatening to strike next month’s Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Security experts say the Russians are right in taking the threat seriously.
The video was posted online Sunday by a militant group in Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim republic in Russia’s North Caucasus. The Olympic host city of Sochi is about 300 miles west of Dagestan.
Two Russian-speaking men featured in the video are identified as members of Ansar al-Sunna, the name of a Jihadist group operating in Iraq. It was unclear whether the men in the video had received funding or training from that group.
• Jamaican bobsled pilot Winston Watts and the nation’s Olympic Committee said they are accepting an invitation to compete in the Olympics.
It is the first time the Jamaican bobsled team will compete in the Games since 2002. The invitation comes after Watts accumulated enough points in lower-tier races in North America to qualify.
“Oh, man, it’s really overwhelming,” Watts said.
Jamaica first competed in Olympic bobsledding in 1988 at the Calgary Games, a story that inspired the film “Cool Runnings.”
• Moments after stating his intention to run for FIFA president next year, Jerome Champagne hinted he might abandon his challenge if Sepp Blatter stands for a fifth term.
Champagne, a Frenchman who is a former Blatter adviser, became the first person to declare his candidacy for soccer’s top job.
Seattle Times news services