As the hockey world debates how non-malicious or dirty the Matthew Tkachuk hit on Mark Scheifele was in yesterday’s Jets loss to the Calgary Flames, one man is convinced the play was as dirty as they come.
Head coach Paul Maurice told reporters after the 4-1 loss to the put the Jets down 1-0 in a five-game series versus the Flames: “filthy, dirty kick to the back of the leg.” He went on to say that it was tough to see how awful it was from the program feed, but if you look at the blue line camera and zoom in, it’s easy to see Tkachuk’s skate came up on purpose in a play that could have ended the career of a fantastic hockey player.
Tkachuk’s right skate did appear to take out or at least turn Mark Scheifele’s left foot to the point of an injury on Saturday. But, it’s unclear if it was the turn or the skate that did the damage from most of the angles online. Still, something was seriously wrong as Scheifele went into the boards awkwardly, stayed down in pain, and didn’t put weight on his left foot as he was helped off the ice.
As all Jets fans are aware, he did not return.
What’s the Latest on Scheifele?
TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that Scheifele will be getting checked out and his status in unclear. It is expected he will miss time and while it’s too early to know if he’ll return to the postseason or not, the news doesn’t sound good. Dreger writes:
As the Jets indicated last night, Mark Scheifele will be seen by specialists today with post-MRI result to determine the extent of injury…next step, etc.
Dreger adds that NHL Player Safety is reviewing the play, but the term “freak accident” is being used in a number of circles and the committee has not released a statement that Tkachuk will be having a hearing.
Sportsnet’s Eric Francis called Maurice’s response misguided and said:
How someone can see the video and suggest it was targeted to hurt someone is an irresponsible way to try to rally the troops.
Then again, coaches always stick up for their players, especially when the Flames offender is such an easy target given his reputation for being in the middle of such controversies.
If that is, in fact, what Maurice is doing — trying to rally the troops — it will be interesting to see if it works.
Tkachuk’s Take on the Play
When asked if he was trying to take Scheifele out, Tkachuk responded, “No absolutely not.”
“I’m backchecking on him, and it’s such an accident. I felt terrible. He was turning away and my left skate had a little bit of the speed wobbles and I was moving too fast for myself. My left skate just collided and it looked like it jammed him up. His body was going one way, but the way I hit him his leg stayed the one way.”
Mike Johnson of TSN agrees with Tkachuk as he writes:
I know there are some that don’t like Tkachuk’s style of play, but players just do NOT skate around thinking about trying to cut someone with their skates. Not Matt Cooke on Karlsson and not Tkachuk tonight, they just don’t.
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