Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk will have a hearing with the NHL department of player safety on Thursday for a spearing incident in Wednesday’s game against Toronto.
In the first period of the 2-1 shootout loss to the Maple Leafs, Tkachuk poked Leafs forward Matt Martin with the blade of his stick while standing on the bench as an altercation was brewing along the sideboards.
The play began when Martin came across the ice and checked Troy Brouwer into the boards, leading to a brief scrum.
Tkachuk’s jab went undetected by on-ice officials and no penalty was called on the play. He didn’t speak to reporters after the game.
Martin said he didn’t know the 19-year-old Tkachuk speared him until he was shown a video of the play by team staff.
“I didn’t feel it at the time but I guess if he’s going to do stuff like that he should make it count,” said Martin. “It’s child’s play.”
Leafs coach Mike Babcock called it “junior hockey stuff.”
“He’ll learn over time,” Babcock said of the 19-year-old player. “You’ve got to give Tkachuk credit, he played a good game, he played hard. No reason for that stuff.”
Tkachuk is only two weeks removed from a one-game suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct stemming from an incident in a Nov. 15 meeting with the Detroit Red Wings.
Late in the third period of an 8-2 loss against Detroit, Tkachuk jabbed Wings forward Luke Witkowski with the blade of his stick after Witkowski was escorted off the ice after a fight with Calgary’s Brett Kulak. Unlike the Martin incident, Tkachuk was given a five-minute major for spearing and a game misconduct on the play.
“You can play with an edge, for sure. I think he’s an effective player. I think he’s a good player,” said Martin. “When you’re sitting on the bench or the situation in Detroit … it’s not really necessary … I don’t think it’s a good hockey play by any means.”
Tkachuk was already considered a repeat offender after receiving a two-game suspension for elbowing L.A. Kings defenceman Drew Doughty last year in his rookie season.