While a guest on Sportsnets 590 The Fan, Pacific All-Stars coach Rick Tocchet was asked if he would play Leon Draisaitl and Matthew Tkachuk together in the All-Star game considering Draisaitl’s recent comments.
The Battle of Alberta is in full swing again and after Tkachuk caught the ire of forward Zack Kassian and many of Kassian’s Oilers teammates stood up for his decision to rag-doll a non-willing Tkachuk publicly, Draisaitl took the animosity to the next level when he said if he and Tkachuk were put on the ice together during the All-Star Game, he would simply get off the ice. That of course led to questions about how well the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers are getting along during the All-Star weekend as there are representatives from each team in attendance.
Mark Giordano recently said in a presser that he didn’t expect there to be fireworks as everyone is a professional and the atmosphere is so unique but that in the back of everyone’s minds, these two teams will play each other in a few days. The rivalry will surely rear its ugly (or beautiful depending on how you see it) head.
So, it’s not a shock to hear media ask the man who will be coaching all of those potential time bombs what his plan is. “So, will you do it? Are you gonna put them out there to see what happens or just try to avoid that?” one member of the panel asked.
Tocchet said “I’m just going to stay out of it.” He added that he’d actually never been an All-Star coach before so he spoke with a couple of players privately and asked who they wanted to play with. We’re thinking none of the Oilers said the Flames or vice versa.
Tocchet did admit, “If they’re on the ice at the same time, I can’t see him [Draisaitl] doing it but there’s a lot of heat in Alberta and I get it. I actually love it and I think the rivalry between Calgary and Edmonton is good for hockey. I love it.”
Tocchet Likely Won’t Test His Theory
So, it sounds like Tocchet might be curious to see what the two sides do if asked to be productive together or if cooler heads will prevail but that he might not test the waters and his theory. There are plenty of line combinations possible without needing to mix these guys together.
The fans would love to see what happens. Who wouldn’t?
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