The Calgary Flames have been the NHL’s best team since late January but they’ll be without one of their most important forwards for a pair of games.
Matthew Tkachuk elbowed Los Angeles Kings defenceman Drew Doughty in the face during a 5-2 Flames win Sunday. No penalty was called on the play but the NHL’s Department of Player Safety handed out some punishment in the form of a two-game suspension.
The team, via general manager Brad Treliving, released the following statement Tuesday in response to the supplemental discipline:
“While we are disappointed with the League’s verdict, we nonetheless respect the process and that the league has issued its ruling. Both the Flames and Matthew accept the decision. Our sole focus now is on preparing for our game tonight in Washington, while Matthew will spend the next few days getting ready to return to the lineup on Saturday in St. Louis.”
Tkachuk, 19, has been amongst the league’s most impressive first-year players in a stacked rookie class. The sixth-overall pick from the 2016 NHL Draft has 13 goals, 33 assists in 68 games and has received widespread acclaim for his play.
Doughty, on the other hand, didn’t give Tkachuk a glowing review.
“He’s a pretty dirty player, that kid,” Doughty told Jon Rosen of Fox Sports. “To be a rookie and play like that is a little surprising. I don’t know exactly what happened because I got hit in the head, but I thought he elbowed me. I can’t tell you for sure, so I’m not going to say if I think anything should happen, but whatever it was, it hurt pretty bad, and it’s going to hurt for a little bit.”
The Flames visit the Washington Capitals Tuesday, the Nashville Predators Thursday and Tkachuk will be eligible to return to the lineup Saturday when they conclude their three-game road trip against the St. Louis Blues.