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Grudge Match


By Fred Wallace

Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".


The anticipation is sky high for a blood bath tomorrow night when the Edmonton Oilers host the Calgary Flames in the National Hockey League.

This " rematch " pot has been bubbling for 11 days dating back to Calgary's 4-3 win at home over Edmonton on January 11th, a game highlighted not by any of the 7 goals but rather by a pair of hits by Matthew Tkachuk of the Flames on Zack Kassian of the Oilers, hits that Kassian didn't appreciate and after the second contact exacted his pound of flesh from a reluctant Tkachuk.

Owen Sound Attack fans probably aren't surprised by this conflict between two former Ontario Hockey Leaguer's.

With the London Knights, Tkachuk was a prominent goal scorer, potting 8 goals in the 6 game playoff series against the Attack in 2016; amazingly all 8 goals were scored at the Bayshore.

Tkachuk could play, and while fans may have admired his sniping, the Tkachuk theatrics were less appreciated.

Then there's Kassian, and who can forget his performance in Owen Sound in Game 3 of the 2011 OHL Western Final ?

In a series that was tied at 1 game apiece, Captain Garrett Wilson & the Attack tied the game at 4 with just over 4 minutes remaining on a power play.

Then Kassian went to work.

First he high sticked Keevin Cutting, and I remember the official holding his palms up to the Windsor bench indicating he had no other possible choice but to call the penalty.

With Kassian in the box, Garrett Wilson scored again to give the Attack a 5-4 lead.

Then with the net empty, Robbie Mignardi sealed the victory with an empty net marker, but while he was scoring at one end, Kassian was cross checking Jesse Blacker at the other incurring a 4 game suspension as a result and taking himself right out of the series.

Years later, Tkachuk for Calgary and Kassian for Edmonton will meet again and the hockey world is watching.

My sense ? As always in these built up grudge matches nothing extraordinary ever seems to take place, but the hype leading up to tomorrow's game has certainly been entertaining.


I'm Fred Wallace






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