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Last Night’s First Star!

Edmonton Oilers v Calgary Flames
The real MVP’s.. those shoulder pads took at least 3 really good punches last night.
Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images

I want to give Matthew Tkachuk the first star.

I want to be clear. I hate this type of player. The ultra talented agitator. They are getting more and more common. The last 2 Canadian captains at the Juniors (Comtois and new national hero Heyton) are like this. Brad Marchand is the current king. Cory Perry was amazing at it. Claude Lemieux might be the original one. Both Tkachuk’s are like this. Maybe it’s the new rules. But I keep seeing players like this walking around, drawing penalties and winning games and cups. They might be the smartest guys in the NHL. Eg. Marchand knows punches will get you suspended/penalty box so he’ll lick you instead. But they’ll gladly stand there and get punched a few times to draw a penalty. Every guy on my list above is a top tier player and I guarantee more are coming. I’m sure we’ll have one soon too as will every team.

Matthew, my hats off to you. You go to hit our enforcer 3 times last night. You knocked his helmet off twice and got zero penalty minutes while beating us on the powerplay (great screen Matthew!) because your team had a powerplay to end the period and to start the period. For his effort, our first line winger got kicked out and has a meeting coming up with player safety.

In a tie game in the most important game of the season. Kassian took 14 minutes in penalties to 0 for Tkachuk. That is masterful from Matthew!

I can totally picture Matthew on the bench before the first started telling his teamates ‘hey guys, I’m going to keep hitting the big dummy Kassian until he takes a penalty’. Your second hit was as clean as a whistle. Zach’s helmet flew off because he’s not wearing his chin strap. He’s tough, he doesn’t need a chin strap. Problem is, you can’t play without a helmet in the NHL anymore. You have to go to the bench. Why is no one telling Kassian to put his chin strap on? This is the kind of play that can cost you a game! Picture a 5 on 5 and your player loses his helmet and has to skate off. Now it’s a 5 on 4.

Don’t believe me? Here is a very painful experience for me from the Olympic’s when Pavel Kubina lost his helmet in the third period of an elimination Quarter final of a 0-0 game against Finland. He also wasn’t wearing his chin strap. His helmet fell off as he made a very nice diving play on Hagman and he had to skate behind the net to get it. The second he left, Hagman scored on the tip (while Kubina is behind the net). Finland went on to win that 2-0 and win a Bronze a few days later. Czechs flew home. That goal was the result of a chin strap not being worn.

10 years later and my first line winger is not wearing his chin strap!? He even lost his helmet earlier but no one is telling him to put his chin strap on? That is a very selfish and dumb.

As far as Tkachuk. I know people just loved seeing him being ‘ragdolled’ and pics of ‘turtles’ flooded the Oiler twitterverse as though something magical happened. Not one of those punches connected. Tkachuk sustained ZERO injuries. His should pads maybe took 2 punches. In fact, Zach wasn’t even able to knock that ridiculous mouthguard out of his mouth despite tossing him to the ice twice. The mouthguard beat Zack too!

Amazingly, this isn’t the first time this has happened!

This is about 14 months ago. There goes Zack showing Matthew who’s boss. We had a 1-0 lead and a few seconds left in the first. Zack got 26 PIMS, Matthew got 0. Calgary went on to win 4-2. Zach didn’t play in the second or third. Again, Oil fans rejoiced at the whooping. Matthew was 100% fine after that.

Matthew, you sir, are winning the Battle of Alberta. Your strategy is clear as day. Piss of Zack and win the game. Works like a charm!

I hope Kassian gets suspended. I agree with Brian Burke. Why do you have to fight after a clean hit? Zero wrong with this hit (first one was more questionable). Tkachuk did that on purpose to bait Zach.

Since I’m on Zach. Can someone name me a playoff team that Zach would be a legit Top 6 player on? I’d be much happier to see my 4th liner doing this kind of crap on the Flame’s first liner. I really hope this ends in suspension. I hope Bensen gets the call. I hope this results in Zach on the third line with Chiasson. He is not a first line player. Not for us, not for anyone else. He’s a tremendous bottom 6 player worth 2 million a year. He seems like a great guy. A team guy. I’m sure he’s fun at charity events too! As a bottom 6 he’d be great in a playoff run. I’m so tired of watching players on the Oil playing well above their talent level. We fixed the second line. Now fix the first!

NOTE: I originally said Brady and not Matthew. I think I fixed all the ‘Brady’ errors. Pre coffee rant!