Rasmus Andersson

Matthew Tkachuk, Zack Kassian talk big-time trash after brawl

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(The Department of Player Safety announced that Zack Kassian will face a Monday hearing.)

Following their violent exchange and the Flames taking advantage for a 4-3 win vs. the Oilers, you’d wonder if Zack Kassian and Matthew Tkachuk settled down. Instead, the two added more fireworks by trading barbs after Tkachuk delivered hits and Kassian cascaded punches on the “young punk.”

A quick recap of the events

  • During the first period, Tkachuk leveled Kassian with a hard hit. It looked like Tkachuk made contact with Kassian’s head, but no penalty was called.
  • Late in the second, the big moment happened. Watch in the video above and you’ll see that Tkachuk landed another borderline check on Kassian. Kassian reacted with vengeance and furious anger, ragdolling Tkachuk around and delivering a vicious attack.
  • Tkachuk once again avoided penalties for his hits. Kassian received a misconduct, and most importantly, a double-minor for roughing.
  • The Flames ended up scoring the game-winning goal during their ensuing power play opportunities.

Kassian, Tkachuk trade trash talk after the game

If you want to cut to the chase and just see some of the main comments, the tweet below captures the gold. Just be warned: the language is a little, maybe, blue from Kassian in particular? You may smell wafts of toxic masculinity, or at least “locker room talk.” Earmuff your kids, in other words.

Glorious, glorious, mutual disdain.

If you’d rather not click on video:

  • Kassian called Tkachuk a “young punk” and then a-not-family-friendly p-word. Kassian then accused Tkachuk of dodging fights with him, claiming that the old excuse of Kassian being “a fourth-liner” no longer applies.
  • More fun talk from Kassian revolves around how much he wishes this was a playoff series where the two teams would just keep bashing heads in a compressed period of time. Allow me to request more Battles of Alberta, please.
  • Tkachuk gets the check and mate, though. First, Tkachuk said that if Kassian doesn’t want to get hit, “stay off the tracks.” Tkachuk wondered why Kassian didn’t “learn” after the first time.
  • Tkachuk turned the knife big time at the end of his statement, saying that if Kassian reacts and takes a penalty, “we’ll take the power play, we’ll take the game-winner, and we’ll move on to first place.”
  • Ouch. Tkachuk’s barb was so good it needed a reactionary bullet point.

It wasn’t just those two flapping gums, either. Sportsnet’s Pat Steinberg reports that Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson razzed Kassian after the game.

“They’ve got a lot of pretenders out there. It’s really nice to beat those guys,” Andersson said during Steinberg’s postgame show.

“That’s one of the biggest coward moves I’ve ever seen from Kassian. We make guys like that pay. That was a coward move…that’s the kind of player he is.”

Comments spicy enough to burn your tongue.

Kassian can get a swing at Tkachuk soon enough

Feel free to disagree, but I chalk this up as either Tkachuk 2 or Tkachuk 1, Kassian 0.

Tkachuk correctly stated that the Flames are now in first place in the Pacific, and they’ve won five in a row. The Oilers, meanwhile, sit as the West’s first wild card.

Kassian gets something reasonably close to his wish. While the two teams don’t face off again in the next week, they do lock horns again soon. The teams end January and begin February with a home-and-home set. Then they finish the 2019-20 regular season with a game in Calgary on April 4.

The Flames won the first two games in the season series in 2019-20, so they’re thriving by the metric of “Living well is the best revenge.” Will Kassian get the best of Tkachuk yet? I have no clue, but I’m ordering up as much popcorn as I can find for their future meetings, either way.

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.

PHT Morning Skate: The case for boring Buffalo Sabres; John ‘Norris’ Carlson?

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• Leaning toward a boring style of hockey might not excite Sabres fans, but injuries might force Buffalo’s hand. (Die By the Blade)

• Speaking of the Buffalo Sabres, how can they jumpstart Jeff Skinner once he returns. Travis Yost explains it pretty simply: put him back with Jack Eichel. (Buffalo News)

• Bill Daly admitted to ESPN on Ice that the league is concerned about Alex Ovechkin and others skipping All-Star Games. Frankly, it’s tough to imagine this trend ending during a time when sports teams are becoming more intrigued by “load management.” Maybe the NHL should expect less in this regard, at least for high-mileage veterans like Ovechkin and Marc-Andre Fleury? Just saying. (ESPN)

• The Flames signed defenseman Rasmus Andersson to a significant extension. It’s a six-year deal with a $4.55 million AAV. Wow. (Flames)

• The Predators fired Peter Laviolette, but GM David Poile blames the players, not the coaches, for the team’s predicament. (On the Forecheck)

• Capitals defenseman John Carlson continues to enjoy a season for the ages — and aged. Alex Ovechkin calls him “John Norris,” so is Carlson’s middle name Chuck? (Five Thirty Eight/Featurd)

• Add Dylan Strome to the concerning list of Blackhawks injury. If you’re like me, the screenshot of Strome’s injury will make you cringe. Yikes. (NBC Sports Chicago)

• The Stars loaned defenseman Stephen Johns to the AHL. Consider this a fantastic sign, as Johns hasn’t played since 2018-19 because of “post-traumatic headaches.” Here’s more information on post-traumatic headaches, as that term feels fairly new. In a nutshell, it sounds like migraines might rank among Johns’ concussion-related symptoms? A smart person can feel free to chime in on that. (Stars)

• Adam Gretz goes deep on “the Kris Letang discussion.” (Pensburgh)

• Which players should the Avalanche target at the trade deadline? (Mile High Hockey)

• Speaking of the deadline, Mark Borowiecki acknowledges being anxious about his fate with or without the Senators. (TSN)

• Micah Blake McCurdy posted an interesting thread that spotlights skyrocketing scoring in the NHL, among other trends. (McCurdy’s Tweets)

• “They’re coming for you one day — all of us, no matter what, you’re going to get fired.” That’s what Paul Maurice had to say about the many coaching firings recently. Interesting to hear that from Maurice, who is one of those coaches who’s quietly found work for a staggering amount of time relative to his teams’ modest successes. (Chris Johnston’s Tweet)

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.

Flames agree to six-year extension with Rasmus Andersson

CALGARY, Alberta — The Calgary Flames and defenseman Rasmus Andersson have agreed to a six-year, $27.3 million contract extension.

The deal was announced Wednesday.

The 23-year-old native of Sweden has three goals, nine assists and 33 penalty minutes in 44 games for Calgary this season – his second full season with the NHL club.

The 6-foot-1, 214-pound defender, selected by the Flames in the second round of the 2015 NHL draft, totaled 12 goals and 49 assists in 110 games over his first two pro seasons with Stockton of the AHL. He also played in the 2018 AHL All-Star game.

PHT Morning Skate: Backstrom, Holtby extension talks; Price right for reset?

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

Elias Lindholm has a theory about Flames’ post-season flop. (Sportsnet)

• The top 10 candidates to be traded this season. (The Hockey News)

• Backstrom, Holtby extension talks in Capitals’ plans before camp. (NHL.com)

• After out-sized expectations perhaps under-sized Kailer Yamamoto can finally make his pro hockey mark. (Edmonton Journal)

• Will the Sabres trade Rasmus Ristolainen before the season begins? (The Hockey News)

• The best (and worst) NHL teams of the past decade. (ESPN)

Rasmus Andersson is the key to the Flames moving forward. (The Hockey Writers)

• Can Canadiens star Carey Price hang on until GM’s reset is complete? (Montreal Gazette)

• Steady Tavares won’t be a distraction. (Canada.com)

• Five predictions for the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 2019-20 season. (Pensburgh)

• Oilers’ Jesse Puljujarvi wants top-6 role. Is it realistic? (Sporting News)

• Bruins talking extension with Cassidy. (TSN.ca)

MORE:
• ProHockeyTalk’s 2019 NHL free agency tracker
• Your 2019-20 NHL on NBC TV schedule


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Capitals end seven-game slide, beat Western Conference-leading Flames

Associated Press

It’s over.

There was a lot of losing along the way — seven games, in fact.

But it’s over.

The Washington Capitals finally won a hockey game — their first since Jan. 10 — after they returned to the ice following the NHL All-Star Weekend and their league-mandated five-day break. The time off seemed to serve them well. Even without the NHL’s top goal-getter in Alex Ovechkin, who served his one-game ban for skipping the all-star game, the Capitals put together their best performance in recent memory with a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames.

Prior to their break, the Capitals tried betting on themselves.

Ovechkin had a choice: sit against the struggling Toronto Maple Leafs in the second game of a back to back for the Caps, or serve his one-game suspension against the red hot Calgary Flames.

Smelling blood, Ovechkin and the team made the decision to get right back at it and try to stop the bleeding for the break.

That didn’t happen.

That meant if they were going to stem the wound at seven, they’d have to do so without The Great 8 on Friday night at home to the Flames, who entered Friday winners of four straight

The game was a feisty affair, right down to the final whistle.

Monster hits, including Matt Niskanen destroying Matthew Tkachuk. A sickening goal that will stand as one of the best this season. A line brawl to end the game, including a spirited scrap between Tkachuk and Brooks OrpikTom Wilson got into it, too, with some sort of modified rock bottom on Rasmus Andersson.

And of course, a goal with 57 seconds remaining in the third period by Evgeny Kuznetsov that broke a 3-3 and ensure Washington could re-acquaint itself with all the good feelings winning brings.

The Capitals now have nine games in their next 16 nights, but appear to have, at least on paper, some easier matchups against the Vancouver Canucks, Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers on the horizon. First, however, they will take on the Boston Bruins on Sunday afternoon.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck