Well aware of how stressful his mother finds it to have her boys face off against one another, Matthew did her a solid mere hours before their first meeting Thursday.
“Anybody that thinks we’re going to fight is an idiot,” said the older brother of Senators star Brady.
“I don’t know why people keep saying that each and every year. They obviously haven’t played against their brother in a sport ever.”
His declaration should do wonders for a mom who admits to being a bundle of nerves before every sibling set-to.
So, in the spirit of transparency, Chantal Tkachuk has a confession, and neither one of her boys will be pleased to hear it.
“I’m not going to lie — my boys tell me all the time to stay off Twitter and I have to come clean: I go onto Twitter every day and search the name 'Tkachuk' and see what comes up,” said mom.
“I don’t know why I do it to myself. When things aren’t going well for them it’s terrible some of the stuff I read. I read more about Matthew lately from people who wish paralysis on him and career-ending injuries to him and even death on him.”
Tough to read.
“As a mother it’s disgusting to read that stuff, yet I still go back and read it. It baffles me how people can say whatever they want on Twitter and there are zero repercussions for that,” she added.
“I think, ‘How would these peoples’ mothers feel if they read stuff like that about their kids?’ It hurts me that just because they’re athletes people can say what they want. Luckily the boys are smart enough not to go on there and read that stuff.”
Pausing to chuckle, she added, “But I have to say, when they have a good game it’s so much fun to read the comments … it kind of makes up for the bad stuff.”
Suffice it to say that with the style of play the boys employ, mom has had plenty of reading material this season.
Matthew has re-established his perch atop the league’s most hated list, ensuring his combination of sublime skill, physicality and gamesmanship have elevated him to Canada’s most hated.
He’s also taken some heat of late from Flames fans frustrated with everyone and everything surrounding the scuffling crew.
Brady’s rebuilding bunch in Ottawa has had its share of critics too, albeit subdued by the understanding it will take a while to turn that ship around.
And now, with the lads set to face off for the first of four games in a row, social media will no doubt be abuzz once again with Tkachuk fodder.
“Two games a year I can handle — I don’t know how I’m going to get through nine,” she laughed.
“There’s going to be a lot of red wine involved to calm me.”
Chantal and husband Keith have only missed attending one of their four head-to-head matchups due to one of their daughter's — Taryn — big field hockey games.
“I’m nervous for the game,” said Chantal, who generally enjoys the distractions involved with using each of their meetings as mini family reunions.
“Just being a mom I just want them both to do well. It’s hard because at the end of the day somebody isn’t going to be happy.”
She prays for overtime, and insists they keep it clean — something she isn’t worried about despite COVID forcing this to be an "unsupervised" scrimmage.
“They already know — I don’t need to be there to know they better not do anything stupid,” she said, admitting she didn't love seeing Brady drop his gloves to fight big Ben Chiarot Tuesday.
"I definitely cringe. It's not something you like to see your kids doing but it's just part of the way they play. They’ve always been super intense.
I know that’s bound to happen every once in a while. I just wish it happened less."
She also probably wishes Brady didn't have to spend Wednesday in the dentist’s chair to repair three chipped teeth and undergoing a root canal following a high stick in Tuesday’s win over Montreal.
Thursday's game shouldn't be as intense as it's the first meeting of the year between the Flames and Senators.
“I wouldn’t say it’s much of a sibling rivalry — team rivalries are different,” added Brady, 21, who, at 6-foot-4, 211-pounds, is emerging as a force in every way.
“I think it’s just special for Matthew and I, but also my parents, our sister, Taryn, and our family. It’s a great moment for everybody because they’ve all helped us get here.”