The Columbus Blue Jackets extended their winning streak to eight games on Friday night with an impressive 4-1 win over the Calgary Flames, moving them to within two points of first place in the Metropolitan Division with still three games in hand on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
There was an immediate response from an unlikely player when Alexander Wennberg went after Tkachuk and dropped the gloves in his first NHL fight.
Here is the entire sequence.
It didn’t last very long, and Tkachuk seemed to get the better of him in the end, but it was all still enough to get some praise from Wennberg’s coach, John Tortorella.
“Great left,” said Tortorella when he was asked about it after the game. “Great left, and then he switched to a right. I loved what I saw out of Wenny there, and he hit him right on the button. I thought he was one of our best players tonight, too.”
“I’ve talked since I’ve been here, I think Wenny needs to be more involved, maybe not to fight, but in the inside part of the game. He has done that this year. Before camp started we talked about responsibility as a third year pro. He is not a rookie anymore, he is not feeling his way through the league, he needs to take more responsibility with his play, and he has done that. For him to stand in there, right in front of the bench, that’s important for the bench to see that guy stand in there.”
That is pretty much the response you should expect from Tortorella because he absolutely loves that sort of game. But let’s be honest, that is not what the Blue Jackets need Wennberg to be doing because there is always going to be an injury risk there. The last thing the Blue Jackets need at this point is for one of their most talented players and their second leading scorer to be lost to an injury in something like that (we recently saw Arizona lose one of its best players, Max Domi, to an injury after he was involved in a fight). Especially when it was in response to what appeared to be a legal hit. But it all worked out this time.
Wennberg has 25 points (six goals and 19 assists) in 28 games for the Blue Jackets this season.