Flames' Tkachuk suspended 1 game for spearing Matt Martin
Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock calls Calgary forward's actions 'junior hockey stuff'
Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk has been suspended one game by the NHL for a spearing incident in Wednesday's game against Toronto.
Tkachuk will sit as Calgary tries to end a three-game losing streak Thursday night in Montreal. He will also forfeit US$11,280.49 in salary.
"I apologize to everybody involved," Tkachuk said after learning of his suspension.
The incident came in the first period of Calgary's 2-1 shootout loss to the Maple Leafs. Tkachuk poked Leafs forward Matt Martin with the blade of his stick while standing on the bench as an altercation was brewing along the sideboards.
Sorry, my original tweet was looking at the wrong part of the sequence. Matthew Tkachuk definitely spears Matt Martin from the bench during that scrum. <a href="https://t.co/LQOMtvjHbR">pic.twitter.com/LQOMtvjHbR</a>—@JeffVeillette
"He has to play on the edge," Flames captain Mark Giordano said before Tuesday night's game against the Montreal Canadiens. "He's a great player.
"He plays on the line. I don't think any of his hits and stuff on the ice are questionable. Maybe its on us older guys to help him a bit with some of the borderline stuff from the bench. But there wasn't much there, to be honest."
He acknowledged that spearing from the bench crossed the line.
"I think anyone would want to have that one back," said Giordano. "He's not a dirty player at all on the ice. He plays on the edge and obviously it's tough to miss this game. I know he really wanted to be in this one."
Tkachuk's jab went undetected by on-ice officials and no penalty was called on the play. He didn't speak to reporters after the game.
Martin said he didn't know Tkachuk speared him until he was shown a video of the play by team staff.
"I didn't feel it at the time but I guess if he's going to do stuff like that he should make it count," said Martin. "It's child's play."
Leafs coach Mike Babcock called it "junior hockey stuff."
"He'll learn over time," Babcock said of the 19-year-old player. "You've got to give Tkachuk credit, he played a good game, he played hard. No reason for that stuff."
Tkachuk is only two weeks removed from a one-game suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct stemming from an incident in a Nov. 15 meeting with the Detroit Red Wings.
Late in an 8-2 loss against Detroit, Tkachuk jabbed Wings forward Luke Witkowski with the blade of his stick after Witkowski was escorted off the ice after a fight with Calgary's Brett Kulak. Unlike the Martin incident, Tkachuk was given a five-minute major for spearing and a game misconduct on the play.
"You can play with an edge, for sure. I think he's an effective player. I think he's a good player," said Martin. "When you're sitting on the bench or the situation in Detroit … it's not really necessary. I don't think it's a good hockey play by any means"
Tkachuk was already considered a repeat offender after receiving a two-game suspension for elbowing L.A. Kings defenceman Drew Doughty last year in his rookie season.
Calgary, which has dropped two straight games, visits the Canadiens in Montreal on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET. Toronto next plays Saturday against Sidney Crosby and the hometown Pittsburgh Penguins (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m.)
With files from CBC Sports