The Calgary Flames lose one of their key players during the crucial part of the season. With only ten games left, Matthew Tkachuk has been suspended for two games. The suspension comes after Tkachuk elbowed Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. In the final seconds of the first period, Mikael Backlund dumped the puck high off the boards and deep into the Kings zone. As it went to land behind the net, Tkachuk tried to box out Doughty. In the process of doing that, Tkachuk drove his elbow into Doughty’s chin. Doughty dropped to the ice, but played the rest of the game. Tkachuk wasn’t given a penalty for the elbow, but received a roughing penalty in the ensuing scrum.
The Flames went on to win the game 5-2. Neither Tkachuk or Doughty scored any points.
Matthew Tkachuk Suspended Two Games for Elbowing
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Tkachuk has always played a physical style of game. When asked about the hit after the game, Doughty said; “He’s a pretty dirty player, that kid. To be a rookie and play like that is a little surprising.”
Tkachuk gets the playing style from his dad, Keith Tkachuk, who was known for playing very physically during his 24 season career. The old-school style isn’t very popular amongst many rookies, which adds uniqueness to Tkachuk’s already strong play. Tkachuk currently leads all rookies in penalty minutes.
Tkachuk is is currently fifth on the team in points, with 46 points in 68 games. Only 13 of these points are goals, though. This gives him 33 assists, ranking him third amongst all rookies and third on the team. This shows the high IQ that Tkachuk adds to the team, another one of his many strengths.
Tkachuk won’t travel with the team to Washington or Nashville, and will meet the team when they play the St. Louis Blues on Saturday. In his place will likely be Micheal Ferland. Ferland has played in 67 games this season, and has 21 points. During the game against the Kings, Ferland was scratched in favor of the newly acquired Curtis Lazar. Now, both players get the chance to play.
With the team battling the Edmonton Oilers for third in the Pacific Division, both players will have to be producing. Tkachuk leaves a big hole in the lineup, and it’ll be hard for anyone to fill that gap. This is especially considering the high levels of competition the team faces against the Capitals and Predators. They’ll have to get through these two games quickly, and will be highly anticipating Tkachuk’s return.
GLENDALE, AZ – DECEMBER 08: Matthew Tkachuk #19 of the Calgary Flames skates with the puck during the second period of the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on December 8, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)