Matthew Tkachuk is among the most talented youngsters in the NHL, but one of the league’s best defenders isn’t a fan.
On Sunday, Drew Doughty was the recipient of a dirty hit from the Calgary Flames rookie. At the end of the first period, with the puck behind the Los Angeles Kings net, Tkachuk delivered a clear elbow to Doughty’s head. The former Norris Trophy winner immediately went down. Tkachuk received a roughing call on the play.
Afterward, Doughty called out Tkachuk, calling the 19-year-old a “pretty dirty player,” according to Jon Rosen of LAKingsInsider.com.
Doughty, on the Tkachuk hit: "He's a pretty dirty player, that kid." His quotes on the play at the end of the first period: pic.twitter.com/D1TIuogKPB
— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) March 20, 2017
“He’s a pretty dirty player, that kid. To be a rookie and play like that is a little surprising. I don’t know exactly what happened because I got hit in the head, but I thought he elbowed me. I can’t tell you for sure, so I’m not going to really say if I think anything should happen, but whatever it was, it hurt pretty bad, and it’s going to hurt for a little bit.”
Tkachuk is a big-bodied (6’2″, 200 pounds) presence for the Flames. But, the hit wasn’t the result of stature. Instead, Tkachuk blatantly elbowed Doughty in the head. Dirty is the appropriate way to describe it. Doughty should be irate.
Talent aside, Tkachuk deserves a suspension, or at the very least, a fine and talking to by the NHL. The hit wasn’t a hockey play. Fortunately, Doughty appears to be OK.
Hopefully, the uber-talented Tkachuk gets the message that hits like this aren’t tolerated and he needs to be more aware of his actions – and their consequences – on the ice. He’s too good to be this reckless.