Chalk it up to the storied rivalry between these two Central Division teams, or simply tensions boiling over, but it was quite something.
At first, officials were going to hand Sundqvist a major penalty. After undergoing a review, they bumped it down. Ultimately, Sundqvist received a roughing minor, while Caggiula and Dunn both were whistled for fighting.
One of the most entertaining moments came when Dunn made this face following the fight:
Caggiula also played to the crowd nicely after his fight with Dunn:
Bokondji “Boko” Imama and Brandon Manning dropped the gloves during their first AHL meeting since Manning was suspended five games for uttering a racial slur at Imama. As you can see from the video above, Imama ended up winning that fight with Manning.
Imama wins fight with Manning, has quite the night
Imama didn’t just win that fight; his team also won the game. In fact, Imama’s Ontario Reign set a franchise record by beating Manning’s Bakersfield Condors 10-3.
Imama generated a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a goal, assist, and that fight. With all of that in mind, it’s not too surprising to see Imama beaming (and distracted) in a postgame interview:
Of course, no win (in a fight or a game) erases what Manning said to Imama. It also won’t silence critics who believe that a five-game suspension wasn’t enough. Racism remains a problem in hockey, at the AHL and NHL levels, and beyond.
How NHL, AHL has handled past incidents, and potential future approaches
Back in December, the NHL detailed how it may handle future moments that “cross the line.” Time will tell if those changes end up being meaningful — Aliu seemed optimistic after a talk — but hopefully Friday gave Imama a measure of closure.
Special teams ended up being the biggest difference, beyond a successfully returning Rask. While the Jets squandered their power-play opportunities (0-for-6), the Bruins scored both of their goals on the man advantage (2-for-4).
It’s tempting to wonder if Brad Marchand wanted a little pest’s attention, what with all of the attention going Matthew Tkachuk’s way. Instead, it just seemed like Marchand was enraged by a big, hard hit by Ehlers. Oh well, if you cannot always get the juiciest narratives, at least there’s the carnage of all of those fights.
(Does anyone else want a tag team match involving maybe Malcolm Subban as well? No? OK …)
As you can see in the video above, the two players started to mix it up in front of the net before fighting. Brady certainly seemed to get the better of P.K., who is just having one of those years. (Hearing a Tkachuk brother yap at you after an unsuccessful fight must sting.)
Just, wow. Zack Kassian absolutely lost his mind on Matthew Tkachuk during Saturday’s 4-3 Flames win over the Oilers. While many probably responded with “understandable” at losing your cool at Tkachuk, Kassian responded to the pest in an extreme way.
“The Battle of Alberta” often brings the heat, and Saturday appears to be a prime edition.
Tkachuk set the stage for Kassian rage with this first hit, which certainly qualifies as questionable:
From here, it looked like Tkachuk made contact with Kassian’s head, but there was no penalty. Maybe that made Kassian even angrier? Really, a long game of Tkachuk jawing and having that freaking mouthpiece hanging out would be enough to wear on even the Zen-like among us.
Another Tkachuk hit, and then lots of Kassian punches
So here’s where things really got out of hand.
Tkachuk leveled Kassian with yet another aggressive check, and that was enough. Kassian responded with a stunning flurry of violence on Tkachuk that you really need to see to believe. He even ragdolls Tkachuk during that attack. Watch it, probably with your jaw dropped, in the video above this post’s headline.
Optics-wise, you’d think that Kassian might see supplemental discipline. That was an epic meltdown, one where the “fight” seemed like it should be over at least once.
While time will tell if the NHL decides to suspend Kassian at some point, the gritty winger put the Oilers in a tough spot. Kassian received a misconduct, but most importantly, a double-minor for roughing late in the second. The Flames began the third period with a golden opportunity, and took a 4-3 lead early in the final frame of regulation.
Say what you will about Tkachuk, he finds a way to get under the skin of his opponents. Even if Kassian avoids supplemental discipline, he already made a mistake.
What do you think should result from Kassian’s actions? Should Tkachuk receive supplemental discipline for his questionable hit(s)?
Also, what’s the perfect soundtrack for the slow-motion footage? No, “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher” doesn’t really work here, in my opinion.