Both Connor McDavid and Leon Drasaitl will be playing in this year’s NHL All-Star Game. Interestingly enough, so will Matthew Thachuk, and all a part of the Pacific All-Stars squad.
But, as everyone now knows, there is some serious beef between the Flames and Oilers, more specifically, Tkachuk and Zack Kassian who went at each other in Saturday’s Battle of Alberta.
Tkachuk laid in three massive hits (there is controversy over how clean those hits were) and Kassian went bananas on the third hit, grabbing an unwilling combatant from behind and feeding him shots, resulting in a double-minor penalty and a 10-minute misconduct.
The Oilers eventually lost the game, Tkachuk and Kassian had messages for each other that were sent through the media and the rest of the teams will foster that energy as they plan to meet up again on Janaury 29th, where hopefully Kassian will get to play. He’s facing a hearing with the NHL Player Safety Committee and could miss the match-up if suspended.
Bad Feelings Are Filtering Over
Before that January 29th battle, the NHL will take a slight break as they host the All-Star Game on January 25th. Typically a fun event for all participants, there may be some bad blood between the Oilers and Flames players that could manifest itself during the game.
Leon Draisaitl was asked what he would do if he found himself on the ice with Tkachuk. He said simply, “I’d get off the ice.”
While the coach of the Pacific team is likely wise enough not to put the Oilers forwards and Tkachuk on the same line anyways, perhaps keeping them apart, even on the bench will be best.
McDavid probably isn’t all that happy either. While many are debating how clean the hits Tkachuk laid in were, McDavid was the first one in the scrum after the third hit, going after Tkachuk until Kassian could get up. Clearly, the Oilers captain didn’t like the play.
How much animosity spills over during that weekend might be little and it could be so little that fans don’t notice. But, you can bet the media will make a story out of it and Draisaitl has already said he’s not going to willingly play with someone he now considers a dirty rival.