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.
JUST IN: @NHLFlames F Matthew Tkachuk has been suspended one game for his actions on Wednesday against the @DetroitRedWings. Tkachuk was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct on the play for spearing. #NHL https://t.co/ompNcx2jbg pic.twitter.com/04SWOsHAvO
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) November 18, 2017
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.