If the purpose of a suspension is to dissuade future transgressions, Zack Kassian doesn’t seem to have gotten the message.
Speaking to the media shortly after the NHL’s Department of Player Safety ruled that Kassian will be suspended for the Oilers’ next two games due to the on-ice altercation with Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk on Saturday night, the Oilers winger held nothing back in voicing his displeasure.
Asked if, given the chance, he’d have handled the situation differently, Kassian’s response was as blunt as it gets.
“No, I’d do it again, all over again,”
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 14, 2020
Alright, good to know.
The Tkachuk vs. Kassian clash, which unfolded before a national audience on the most recent Hockey Night in Canada, is the talk of the hockey world at the moment, injecting a new dose of hatred into the Battle of Alberta and re-igniting a previously fledgeling rivalry. In Kassian’s eyes, Tkachuk’s actions crossed the line. To him, they warranted a response.
Matt Tkachuk didn't want any of that Kassian smoke nopepic.twitter.com/6lW1qe0NSD
— Yahoo Sports NHL (@YahooSportsNHL) January 12, 2020
“Since I’ve been in minor midget I’ve stood up for myself and my teammates,” Kassian explained to reporters following Oilers practice on Tuesday.
“People don’t do that to me or my teammates when I’m out there. To me, those are two dangerous hits. Even if they’re clean, they’re still predatory.”
Fortunately for Kassian, his chance at redemption is fast approaching. The Oilers’ next meeting with the Flames is scheduled to go down on January 29th in their own building, giving the disgruntled winger plenty of time to serve his suspension and gear up for the impending rematch. And given the (admittedly one-sided) hostile fallout of the incident, this clash is sure to produce some fireworks.
In the meantime, Kassian is making sure his message is heard loud and clear.
“I’m a big boy, I love big boy hockey”
He’ll just have to wait another two games to prove it.
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