The NHL has suspended Zack Kassian of the Oilers two games for violating Rule 46.2 (Aggressor) during Saturday’s game against the Flames. Matthew Tkachuk, who was the subject of Kassian’s ire during Saturday’s “Battle of Alberta,” was not fined or suspended.
The suspension stems from the battle which began with a first period hit by Tkachuk on Kassian that went unpenalized. Things continued late in the second period when Tkachuk nailed Kassian behind the Flames net, which set off the Oilers forward.
Here’s the Department of Player Safety’s explanation for the two-game suspension:
Here’s a key piece of the explanation:
“Kassian acknowledges he was seeking retribution for this hit and previous hits thrown during the game. While he acknowledges frustration, players are not excused from grossly violating league rules in retribution or retaliation for hits thrown on them — legal or otherwise.”
After the game, which Calgary won 4-3, the two engaged in a war of words, which included Kassian calling Tkachuk a “p—-y” and Tkachuk calling Kassian a “fourth liner.”
Draisaitl on the 3-on-3 possibility of Tkachuk being with he and McDavid at the all-star game. When I asked the question, I tweeted his response as "I'd get off the ice." Exact quote was "I'd probably get off the ice."
— Jim Matheson (@NHLbyMatty) January 13, 2020
On whether he believes Kassian’s actions were worthy of a suspension, Tkachuk said on Monday, “It’s not my call. I’m happy I don’t have to make those decisions. Those guys have a really tough job.”
As for not dropping the gloves to fight Kassian, Tkachuk said , “[It] was probably the right thing to do right there. If it was a different type of player, maybe. Maybe someone closer to me out there, maybe. But it wasn’t the right time to do it against the right person.”
The Flames and Oilers will see each other in two weeks when they play a home and home on Jan. 29 and Feb. 1. Kassian will be eligible to return beginning with that first meeting.