Calgary Flames

Matthew Tkachuk suspended one game for unsportsmanlike conduct

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Another day, another suspension for Matthew Tkachuk.

On Thursday afternoon, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced that they have suspended the Flames forward for a game because of an incident that occurred in last night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

During a first-period scrum in front of the Flames bench, Tkachuk, who was on the bench, used his stick to spear Maple Leafs tough guy Matt Martin, who was on the ice at the time.

After the game, Leafs head coach Mike Babcock called the move “junior hockey stuff”.

If you missed the incident, you can watch it by clicking the video at the top of the page. 

What this means is that Tkachuk will be forced to miss tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens, which is a big deal considering his team will have to play their second game in two nights after losing to Toronto.

Here’s the full explanation of the suspension:

‘Junior hockey stuff’: Matthew Tkachuk earns hearing for spear on Martin (Video)

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Matt Martin would like you to know that he’s fine. That spear from the bench by Matthew Tkachuk during Wednesday night’s game? He didn’t even feel it. In fact, he wasn’t even aware of it until after Toronto’s 2-1 shootout win over Calgary when the media requested to talk to him about the incident.

It was during a late first period scrum in front of the Flames’ bench that Tkachuk jabbed his stick into Martin’s midsection.

That wasn’t missed by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, which announced that Tkachuk, who wasn’t penalized, will have a hearing on Thursday.

Martin, who didn’t want to offer an opinion on whether Tkachuk should be punished, did have some advice for the young forward.

“I guess if he’s going to do stuff like that he should probably make it count,” he said. “It’s whatever. That’s child’s play. I don’t really get involved in that kind of stuff.”

Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock wasn’t a fan either.

“The guys told me in-between periods. I mean, whatever, that’s junior hockey stuff,” he said. “He’ll learn over time. You gotta give Tkachuk credit, he played a good game, he played hard. No reason for that stuff.”

Tkachuk, a well-know shift disturber around the league, has had a busy first few months of the season in the area of discipline. He was suspended one game in November for inciting a brouhaha between the Flames and Detroit Red Wings, which earned Luke Witkowski a 10-game ban. Just 10 days later he was on the receiving end of a Gabriel Landeskog cross-check to the head that caused the Colorado Avalanche captain to sit for four games.

Already holding repeat offender status, Tkachuk will likely find himself sitting out at least one game for this.

UPDATE: One game ban for Tkachuk.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Avs’ Gabriel Landeskog suspended four games for cross-checking (Video)

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Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog will sit for four games after he was suspended for a cross-check to the head/neck area of Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk Saturday night.

Landeskog was given a minor on the play, but the situation and severity of the cross-check caused this to be looked at by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.

As the video notes, Landeskog has a suspension history with the DoPS but was not considered a repeat offender because his last run-in was over 18 months ago.

When you look at where the puck is, when the final blow is delivered and, of course, where Landeskog gets Tkachuk, it’s clear cut that he was going to sit for a few games. After being suspended three games in March 2016 for a similar cross-check to Simon Despres of the Anaheim Ducks, he said there was, “no excuse for anything like that. …It was just a really, really, really dumb play on my part.” We’ll likely be hearing a similar quote from him in the coming days.

The four-game ban will cost Landeskog $119,815.68 in salary. He’s eligible to return to the Colorado lineup for their Dec. 7 game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Gabriel Landeskog lands player safety hearing after cross-check

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Gabriel Landeskog is in hot water with the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety (again) after cross-checking Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk in the head on Saturday.

The NHL announced Sunday that the Colorado Avalanche captain, who is no stranger to the league’s disciplinary committee, would have a hearing scheduled for Monday.

The incident, which can be seen below, shows Tkachuk fighting for a loose puck at the side of Colorado’s net in the first period of 3-2 Fames win on Saturday. Landeskog does well, initially, to get Tkachuk away from the puck, but then fires off two cross-checks, the second landing flush on the side of Tkachuk’s face.

Landeskog was issued a two-minute stint in the sin bin for cross-checking on the play. Tkachuk remained in the game and assisted on the ensuing power-play goal by Dougie Hamilton.

Landeskog has had issues with his stick getting horizontal and getting too high in the past.

In March of 2016, Landeskog was handed a three-game suspension for cross-checking then-Anaheim Ducks defenseman Simon Despres in the back of the head, which the 25-year-old said was, “really, really, really dumb play on my part.”

In November of 2015, Landeskog was given a two-game ban after a hit to the head of Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand.

Gaudreau, Monahan, Flames too much for Capitals

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When you talk about the best lines in the NHL, don’t sleep on the trio Johnny Gaudreau is leading for the Calgary Flames.

With his 10th goal of the season coming early in a Flames – Washington Capitals game that is ongoing, Gaudreau collected his 30th point of 2017-18. As of this writing, only two other players have hit that mark so far: Steven Stamkos (35 points) and Nikita Kucherov (33), the headliners of a Tampa Bay Lightning trio that’s grabbing a lot of, well, headlines.

Here’s the goal Gaudreau scored against the Caps, keeping in mind that he has plenty of time to add to his lofty totals:

To an extent, it feels like Gaudreau’s fantastic work has been sneaking under the radar, at least compared to the likes of Stamkos – Kucherov. Then again, maybe some of it has to do with the fact that his hot streak is at least somewhat concentrated in the last few weeks?

Gaudreau, no doubt, is the catalyst. His playmaking ability is often spellbinding, and he’s well beyond questions about being a flash in the pan at this point in his career. The 24-year-old came into tonight’s game with 233 points in 251 career regular-season games; he’s scored more than the likes of Joe Pavelski and Evgeni Malkin since becoming a full-time player in 2014-15, according to Hockey Reference. (He ranks 12th overall during that span.)

His linemates deserve some of the spotlight, too.

There remains a debate about how much Sean Monahan can accomplish without Gaudreau, yet the counterpoint would be to wonder if it’s really that wise to mess with such a good thing. Such an argument is especially tough to make on the heels of his first career hat trick:

While Gaudreau has eight goals and 10 assists for a whopping 18 points (and possibly counting) during a 10-game point streak, Monahan collected his 21st point of this season on the primary assist. He added a helper to that hat trick the other night, so even if he’s stopped for the rest of Monday, Monahan has five points in two games. He also generated a six-game point streak (three goals, five assists) from Oct. 27 – Nov. 9.

When people haven’t been discussing Monahan’s dependence upon Gaudreau, they’ve wondered who might be the right winger for that dynamic duo.

Micheal Ferland might spell the end of that debate.

The big 25-year-old currently has 12 points in 18 games, but he’s really been revving up his production as of late. The Flyers snapped his five-game goal streak on Nov. 18, yet he extended his point streak to six contests with an assist (5G, 3A).

Logically, Ferland makes some sense for Gaudreau – Monahan. Neither of those forwards bring a lot of beef to the table, and Ferland has also shown some signs that he possesses the ability to finish the chances they can set up. As fun as it is to watch Jaromir Jagr with those two, Ferland might end up being the best fit for them since Jiri Hudler’s better Flames days.

(Ferland didn’t get an assist on Gaudreau’s goal, so he’ll need to generate some offense as this game goes along to keep his impressive streak going.)

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Stamkos, Kucherov, and Vladislav Namestnikov probably carry the championship belts as the best scoring line in hockey, at least right now. One of the delightful things about this relatively high-scoring start to the season is that there are plenty of contenders for that imaginary title, and Gaudreau’s group shouldn’t be shortchanged in such debates.

Update: Monahan added a goal of his own (the eventual game-winner, with a primary assist by Gaudreau) as the Flames ran away with this one by a score of 4-1. Matthew Tkachuk made his presence felt as well with two assists.

About the only bummer was that Ferland’s point streak ended.

So, Gaudreau finishes the night with 31 points on the season, including 19 during this 10-game streak. Monahan now has 22 points (with six in the last two contests).

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.