First off. Make sure you watch the hit from the link above. I am going to give you my breakdown of the hit. I don’t really care what happened before or after this. I will say that the chirps in the interviews after the game made me become a bigger fan of Matthew Tkachuk and made me lose all respect of Zack Kassian. If you think the amount of goals mattered for Tkachuk to fight you, then I got a bridge in Brooklyn that’d I love to sell you Zack. Fucking loser.
Anyways, now to the hit. Did Matthew Tkachuk target Kassian? Yes. Of course he did. Every time you go to hit someone there is a level of targeting. You pick you spot and you try to level the guy. This isn’t squirts anymore Zack. Keep your head down, you will get popped.
Did Tkachuk charge Kassian? No. Not even close. Not only does his legs stop moving, but Tkachuk completely changes his body position to create the optimal angle to crush baby Zack.
Did Tkachuk make head contact? Nope. Like I said just before, Matthew changed the angle of his body to optimally pop Kassian in a clean body/body hit. He got low. He led with his hip. He was fucking skating backwards!!! This is exactly what you need from a player from Matthew Tkachuk. It sets the tone and makes everyone think twice when they want to play with their head down.
Want to know why I am right with saying this wasn’t a dirty hit? Big bad Neal didn’t do a God damn thing. He skated right by because he even knew that baby Kassian got cleanly popped. The only one who came to the rescue was McDavid. And let’s face it. McDavid did what a captain had to do and he didn’t actually see the hit. He was 30+ feet away.
You might be wondering what I think of the turtle job. That’s called the Avery Effect. Do you know how much more real estate Tkachuk owns in Kassian’s head right now? He is so infuriated that Matthew won’t fight him. So he turtles when he has the shot. Perfectly played by Tkachuk. A+ troll job.
So what does this all mean? Zack Kassian just made it clear that he can dish it, but CANNOT take it. Edmonton really needs to check themselves and back up from playing this victim card. It’s a bad look from a team that relies on two players to win. My only word of advice would to stay off the tracks Edmonton. I’m sure there are a lot of non-checking leagues around the city.