That was ‘ju­nior hockey stuff’: Bab­cock

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - KYLE CICERELLA

TORONTO — Cal­gary Flames for­ward Matthew Tkachuk has been sus­pended one game by the Na­tional Hockey League for a spear­ing in­ci­dent in Wed­nes­day’s game against Toronto.

Tkachuk will sit as Cal­gary tries to end a three-game los­ing streak Thurs­day night in Mon­treal. He will also for­feit $11,280.49 US in salary.

The in­ci­dent came in the first pe­riod of Cal­gary’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Maple Leafs. Tkachuk poked Leafs for­ward Matt Martin with the blade of his stick while stand­ing on the bench as an al­ter­ca­tion was brew­ing along the side­boards.

The play be­gan when Martin came across the ice and checked Troy Brouwer into the boards, lead­ing to a brief scrum.

Tkachuk’s jab went un­de­tected by on-ice of­fi­cials and no penalty was called on the play. He didn’t speak to re­porters af­ter the game.

Martin said he didn’t know Tkachuk speared him un­til he was shown a video of the play by team staff.

“I didn’t feel it at the time but I guess if he’s go­ing to do stuff like that he should make it count,” said Martin. “It’s child’s play.”

Leafs coach Mike Bab­cock called it “ju­nior hockey stuff.”

“He’ll learn over time,” Bab­cock said of the 19-year-old player. “You’ve got to give Tkachuk credit, he played a good game, he played hard. No rea­son for that stuff.”

Tkachuk is only two weeks re­moved from a one-game sus­pen­sion for un­sports­man­like con­duct stem­ming from an in­ci­dent in a Nov. 15 meet­ing with the Detroit Red Wings.

Late in the third pe­riod of an 8-2 loss against Detroit, Tkachuk jabbed Wings for­ward Luke Witkowski with the blade of his stick af­ter Witkowski was es­corted off the ice af­ter a fight with Cal­gary’s Brett Ku­lak. Un­like the Martin in­ci­dent, Tkachuk was given a fiveminute ma­jor for spear­ing and a game mis­con­duct on the play.

“You can play with an edge, for sure. I think he’s an ef­fec­tive player. I think he’s a good player,” said Martin. “When you’re sit­ting on the bench or the sit­u­a­tion in Detroit ... it’s not re­ally nec­es­sary ... I don’t think it’s a good hockey play by any means”

Tkachuk was al­ready con­sid­ered a re­peat of­fender af­ter re­ceiv­ing a two-game sus­pen­sion for el­bow­ing L.A. Kings de­fence­man Drew Doughty last year in his rookie sea­son.

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