The ruling has come down on Monday and the news isn’t great for Edmonton Oilers fans as Zack Kassian has been suspended two games by the NHL Player Saftey Commitee for his attack on Matthew Tkachuk in Saturday’s Oilers loss to the Calgary Flames.
In a video distributed by the committee, the incidence is walked through (as it always is) and a reasoning behind the ruling is given. While Oilers fans might not be shocked, they won’t be pleased… for the most part.
The Ruling By George Parros
No doubt, the Head of the Department of Player Safety for the National Hockey League, George Parros has one of the hardest jobs in hockey. In a day and age where you won’t please everyone no matter what your ruling, he had to decide what kind of punishment to levy on Kassian for what he deemed a clear violation one of the NHL’s rules.
You can see the video below:
According the video on NHL.com, it is explained that Kassian violated rule 46.2 of the NHL’s rule book. This rule determines what defines “the aggressor” in an incident. The rule states the following:
The aggressor in an altercation shall be the player who continues to thrown punches in an attempt to inflict punishment on his opponent who in a defenseless position or is an unwilling combatant.
The video claims Kassian was hit with a “hard check” but then got back to his feet and grabbed a defenseless Tkachuk who is focused on an offensive chance for the Flames. He then grabs Tkachuk by the collar from behind and throws a series of forceful punches to an unwilling combatant. It adds that at no time was Thachuk able to square up or defend himself.
Kassian’s Two Games Not a Shock
Most people figured Kassian was going to get a game or two as a punishment for losing his cool and policing the game when it appeared the referees were unwilling to do so. While Tkachuk’s hits might not have been dirty by the letter of the NHL law, they were certainly a bit questionable, especially the first hit in the first period where Kassian did not retaliate.
After the final hit, the Oilers forward had enough and went after Tkachuk. The video states Kassian admitted to seeking retribution for the hits and the committee took into consideration his past history of suspensions. It doesn’t comment, but one might assume the post-game comments from Kassian could have played a factor.
It’s a blow for the Oilers to be missing one of their top line players as the team tries to keep pace and themselves in a playoff spot. That said, he’ll be back in time for one of the most anticipated games of the season.
There Is Good News
While a lot of Oilers fans will see the punishment as harsh, many of them upset Kassian got any games, he will be back on January 29th in the next installment of the Battle of Alberta. Two games means he won’t miss the Oilers next chance to battle Calgary, specifically Tkachuk.
The animosity between the two clubs is alive and well and earlier on Monday, Leon Draisaitl responded to a media question asking if he was told to get on the ice with Tkachuk at the All-Star game, he probably wouldn’t.
This is a bit of old time hockey and fans in Edmonton and Calgary will be glued to their television sets on the 29th and then again on February 1st.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”