Little off the radar this week with work and all but I’m sitting in the Newark airport waiting on a 3 hour delayed flight so I thought I’d check in with some thoughts on last weekend’s battle of Alberta. For those of you who don’t know, this a [hockey] game between Alberta’s two NHL team’s: the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers. A great rivalry that’s always got a little flare to it and boy did we ever this time around. Calgary wins their fifth in a row and jumps to first in the pacific but despite a great game the only thing people want to talk about is Kassian-Tkachuk.
For those of you who don’t know, Alberta is a province in Canada and Canada is a country right upstairs from the ol stars and stripes. They broke Canada into 10 provinces which are basically like states but theres only 10 and they’re the size of California. Despite being the capital of hockey, Canada has only 7 teams and two happen to be in Alberta: the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames and they meet every year in a matchup known as the Battle of Alberta.
You might breeze past this matchup as your typical January hockey but this game hit new heights this year as onlookers took in a fight for the ages, a rumble in the tundra, if I may. Besides some great shots and some great saves what really made headlines was the fight between Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk and Oilers winger Zack Kassian.
I could break it down play by play but I thought I’d cut to the chase and post the clip (great reel, but flip to :57 and 2:28 for the hits):
Tkachuk makes a solid hit on Kassian the first time around and goes for him again and Kassian just simply ends his life. The first time Tkachuk hits him so hard Kassian’s neck looks like he got hit by a car and proceeds to crush him into the boards a second time. After the second hit, Tkachuk awakes a sleeping giant and Kassian turns into the absolute monster he is and ends his life. The refs gave him a quick sec to get a few knocks in before pulling him off but by then the damage is done and Tkachuk is on the ice praying for dear life covering his face likes he’s being jumped in a fucking alleyway.
This was phenomenal. Unreal stuff. First hit looked like a penalty -head neck area but no call. Then hits a second time and its kinda sorta a blindside and a great hit and all but still right on the line and Kassian says no mas and it’s light out.
Now I’ve got absolutely no problem with how Kassian handled that. Thats the game policing itself and if you’re gonna play with that edge that Tkachuk does then best be ready for some repercussions. Tkachuk is a dirty, dirty little subway gutter rat tuggin at a slice of pizza up a flight of stairs and I’ve got no problem with Kassian droppin the mits and takin it to him none at all. Kassian gets straight embarrassed and loses his absolute mind and kids, Im here for it. I wanted to see gloves off for both dudes but Tkachuk wasn’t havin it. It would’ve been the honorable move and Kassian even called him a pussy after. But credit to Tkachuk he took the hit like a champ, Flames get a power play and score the winning goal off it.
It was a great game. It was a great fight and it was great for the league -especially in today’s league. The NHL threw out suspensions left and right but at this point in January it means absolutely nothing. 10/10.