MONTREAL – If there is one city in the NHL where the glare of the media is still white hot, especially when anything controversial happens, it’s Montreal. Absolutely nothing goes unnoticed here when it comes to the NHL, even if it happened way across the vast Canadian landscape, as Nathan MacKinnon’s outburst toward his coach was on the bench the other night, in Calgary.

A media horde standing roughly four deep encircled MacKinnon’s locker after Avalanche practice here Friday, curious how the star center would respond, two days after he was caught on camera barking at coach Jared Bednar at the end of a 5-3 loss.

For those who wanted the controversy to continue, for this Avalanche season to turn into the hockey version of “The Young and the Restless”, there was bad news. MacKinnon said he was sorry, Bednar said he never took it personally and there were smiles all around. Nothing to see here. Move on. Well, not quite.

For the 23-year-old MacKinnon, this could be the kind of teaching moment that helps accelerate his maturation process. It was a fresh reminder that players of his stature are always under the klieg lights, whether they realize it or not.

“That’s unacceptable on my part. I can’t be doing that stuff,” MacKinnon said. “I was just really frustrated, but I love playing for Bedsy. Everyone loves playing for Bedsy in here. That’s on me, and I take responsibility for it.”

MacKinnon said the disagreement stemmed from a difference of opinion about pulling the goalie.

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Adrian Dater
Author

Adrian Dater, was born in Vermont and lived as a tot in New York City before living most of his first 25 years in New Hampshire. Education:  Went to Keene State College and received a degree in journalism in 1988. I wrote sports for the college paper, called "The Equinox." Career: After a two-year stint out of college working as a proofreader and part--time sports writer for The Concord Monitor (N.H)., I moved to Denver in May of 1991, with no job, no connections and no car, but a lot of hope. After doing some odd jobs (including working as a bill collector for a trash company), I found some odd writing jobs for local periodicals and then latched on with The Denver Post in December of 1991 as a score-taker for the high-school sports department. That led to more writing jobs, such as covering DU hockey, lots of high-school coverage and various minor-pro sports. In March of 1995, I got a scoop that would change my life: I broke the story of the Quebec Nordiques moving to Denver to become the Avalanche, and for the next 19 years I covered the team every day. In 2015, I became the lead NHL national columnist with Bleacher Report, where I worked until 2017 before joining BSN Denver. I have also been a main hockey writer with Sports Illustrated, The Hockey News, The Sporting News, Hockey Digest, Versus.com and have written seven books on sports, including the 2006 best-selling "Blood Feud", a book about the famous Avs-Red Wings rivalry. Most memorable sports moment: As a fan, when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004. Also, when the Celtics beat the Lakers in the 1984 NBA Finals. The finest sports book I’ve ever read: It would probably be a book called "Game Misconduct", by Russ Conway. It's the story of how a small-town sports reporter (Conway) in Massachusetts exposed the corruption and brought down one of the most powerful figures in the NHL at the time, Alan Eagleson. The book is a primer on how to report and investigate powerful entities. One sports movie that I can’t live without: I loved "Rocky III", and I loved a 1977 basketball movie starring Robby Benson called "One on One." And, of course, "Slap Shot." Most memorable experience as a reporter: I've gotten to interview some of my boyhood heroes, including Larry Bird, Fred Lynn and Luis Tiant. But probably the most memorable of them all was writing the story of Ray Bourque's one and only Stanley Cup in his 22 years, his final game as a pro with the Avs in 2001. The sport that started it all: As a guy who eventually grew to become 6-foot-6, I could hoop it up some. I was the starting center on my high-school team that made the N.H. state semifinals in 1983. While I never played competitive hockey, I played a lot on the many frozen ponds of New Hampshire and had a pretty good slap shot.