Matthew Tkachuk defends 'turtling' against Zack Kassian

Thomas Williams
Hockey writer
Tkachuk thought his actions spoke for themselves. (Derek Leung/Getty Images)

The one-sided battle between Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk and Edmonton Oilers forward Zack Kassian on Saturday has sent both teams into a frenzy, and the player on the “receiving end” is owning it.

Prior to facing the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night, Tkachuk told reporters if he had to do it all over again, he would have done the exact same thing.

"[Not fighting] was probably the right thing to do for me there," Tkachuk said. “If [Kassian] was a different type of player, maybe [I would have]. Maybe somebody closer to me out there.”

The 22-year-old clearly knows the ability and reputation Kassian holds and did not want to go toe-to-toe with the experienced fighter.

"But it wasn't the right time to do it, against the right person. I have a feeling half the people in the league wouldn't go with that guy,” Tkachuk said.

"I just think I'd rather be out there than be in the [penalty] box with him, and I'm sure if you ask the rest of my teammates they'd rather [have] me out there instead of [being] taken off the ice."

With 12 points on the power play this season, Tkachuk understands the value of a man advantage and doesn’t mind looking cowardly if his team ends up with the win — which they got by a score of 4-3 against the Oilers on Saturday.

Kassian received a double-roughing minor penalty and a 10-minute misconduct for the play. He will also have a hearing for his altercation on Monday.

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