“Money well spent.”
This is how Zack Kassian summarizes the $ 20,967.74 he will lose during his two-game suspension for throwing Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk as if he were a scarecrow.
Well spent, the Oilers end made it clear to reporters on Tuesday, because he now knows two important things: that one of the biggest plagues in the NHL seems to be unwilling to fight, and that the league considers blunt blows and Blind that Tkachuk threw to start all rigamarole were clean.
“That gave me some clarity about what you can do and what you can’t do now,” Kassian told the media on Tuesday after his team’s morning skate at Rogers Place. “Then, I put that in the memory bank.”
For those who do not speak hockey player, that probably means that Tkachuk will have to watch his own blind side when the teams meet again later this month.
It also means that we may need stronger words than the Battle of Alberta to characterize the bad blood that now boils between these two types and their teams.
Anyone who needs to remember should know that things got ballistic on Saturday night in Calgary after Tkachuk strangled Kassian with not one, not two, but three crushing blows before the goal of all that violence decided he had enough.
At the end of the second period in the Saddledome, with the game tied 3-3, Kassian reached his personal level when Tkachuk drilled him on the boards and sent his helmet flying.
‘I would do it again’
Kassian grabbed Tkachuk by the collar of his sweater, pulling it as if it were made of rags, and then connected several punches before the line judges intervened. Kassian received a double minor for roughing. The Flames scored in the power game and won the game 4-3.
Both players have made it clear that they would not change anything, even if they could.
“I would do it again,” Kassian said Tuesday.
The Oilers forward said he spoke with the league officials, who explained that Tkachuk’s punches were not dirty moves. He said he accepts that, and his own suspension.
“Clean or dirty, if someone runs twice to you on your blind side, I said [the league], since I have been a minor dwarf, I have defended myself and my teammates. People don’t do that to me or my teammates when I’m there.
“For me, those are two dangerous blows. If they are clean, they are still predators, which is completely fine. I am a big boy, I love big boy hockey. But if you are going to play big-hockey hockey, you have to answer the bell from time to time. “
If Tkachuk had been willing to face each other without gloves on Saturday, the trouble could be over by now, Kassian said.
If you are going to play big boy hockey, you have to answer the bell from time to time.– Zack Kassian
“If he simply answers the bell right there, I don’t think anything happens, right? In fact, he could earn a percent of respect in the league. That’s where he is.”
Fans of both teams, and the entire league, will undoubtedly be eager to see who the bells are ringing on January 29 at Rogers Place, when the Oilers and Flames meet again.
“He messed with the wrong guy,” Kassian said. “I don’t think he realizes we’re in the same division, and I have a great memory.”