Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk will have a phone hearing Thursday with the NHL department of player safety for a spearing incident in Wednesday’s game at Toronto.
In the first period of a 2-1 shootout loss to the Maple Leafs, Tkachuk poked forward Matt Martin with the blade of his stick while standing on the bench as an altercation was brewing along the sideboards.
The play began when Martin came across the ice and checked Troy Brouwer into the boards, leading to a brief scrum.
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. pic.twitter.com/LQOMtvjHbR
Tkachuk, who wasn’t penalized on the play, didn’t speak to reporters after the game.
Martin said he didn’t know the 19-year-old 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.”
Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock called it “junior hockey stuff,” adding, “he’ll learn over time. 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”
As a rookie in 2016-17, Tkachuk was handed a two-game suspension for elbowing Los Angeles Kings defenceman Drew Doughty.
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.)