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Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew Tkachuk suspended one game for Detroit melee

The Calgary Flames will be without one of the most valuable players for a game.

The National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety has suspended Matthew Tkachuk for one game for his part in setting off a melee in the third period of Wednesday’s 8-2 Flames loss to the Detroit Red Wings. The suspension will be served in Saturday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Tkachuk was given a spearing major for poking Red Wings forward Luke Witkowski in the calf as he was leaving the ice following Witkowski’s fight with Brett Kulak. Witkowski had been instructed to leave the playing surface by the officials and received a 10-game suspension yesterday for returning to confront Tkachuk, but it seems that the league wanted to send a message to the 19-year-old forward for his antics.

While the suspension video from Player Safety is not yet available, the suspension video for Witkowski described Tkachuk’s “spear” to Witkowski as “unnecessary, unsportsmanlike and provocative”.

Tkachuk was previously suspended for two games by the league last spring for an elbow to the face of Los Angeles Kings defender Drew Doughty, and Player Safety no doubt felt they had to send him a message with a suspension here.

It’s worth noting that while Tkachuk was penalized in-game for a spear, the NHL didn’t cite the spear in their explanation for Tkachuk’s hearing – instead mentioning “unsportsmanlike conduct.” It’ll be interesting to hear the league’s justification for a suspension, even if it’s only for one game.

UPDATE: The suspension video is out. The rationale for the suspension basically boils down to this: intentional contact with a player off the playing surface, along with the ensuing scrum as a result of that contact, combined with his status as a repeat offender merited supplemental discipline.

  • OYYC

    Jabberwocky
    By NHL Player Safety

    ’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble on the ice:
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome Wings outgrabe.

    “Beware the Jabberwock sword, my son!
    The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
    Beware the Jubjub byng, and shun
    The frumious Bandersnatch!”

    He took his vorpal stick in hand;
    Long time the manxome foe he sought to spaer—
    So rested he by the Tumtum box
    And stood awhile in thought.

    And, as in uffish thought he stood,
    The Witkowski, with eyes of flame,
    Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
    And burbled as it came!

    One, two! One or two games! And through and through
    The vorpal stick went snicker-snack!
    He left it dead, unsportsmanlike conduct and with its head
    He went galumphing back.

    “And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
    Come to my bench, my beamish boy!
    O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
    He chortled repeat oddenfer in his joy.

    ’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    The Department of Player Safety has suspended
    Matthew Tkachuk for one game.

  • WillyWonka

    I have no problem with this suspension. he isn’t being sat for the tap, he is being sat because he is a guy who is always pushing the line, and this time it cost him. the NHL is reminding him where the line is. You want to go out of your way to start trouble… here is the price. It is a fine line that these types of players walk, and they need a reminder every once in a while that the NHL isn’t there’s to do what they want. Love the player, love the style of play, glad he is on the team, but he will have to be careful and learn to be smart with his trouble making games.

  • oilcanboyd

    I have no problem with the suspension as he touched the player that was off the ice, causing said player to return to the ice and cause more havoc. However, no mention was made of said player on the Wings that was pummelling

  • moore_tweets

    Thanks to player safety, the only reason why he can be classified as a “repeat offender” is because of this BS 1 game suspension. It’s like they want him to be classified under repeat.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      If Witlesskowsky admittedly did not know that he couldn’t come back on the ice once escorted off then why do people think he came back after tha tap on his skate. The verbal jousting would have been enough of a reason.

  • Cougar 911

    WAIT until next year and then the beatdown of Mantha and the Wisser….mark your calendars when next years schedule comes out. Meanwhile lets hope that the Flames brass at least post a

  • Cougar 911

    WAIT until next year and then the beatdown of Mantha and the Wisser….mark your calendars when next years schedule comes out. Meanwhile lets hope that the Flames brass at least post a challenge to the ruling