Theo Fleury: Tkachuk elbow ‘sent a message’ to the league

Posted: 23/03/2017 in NHL, Sports
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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Calgary Flames rookie Matthew Tkachuk was suspended two games for an ugly elbow on reigning Norris Trophy winner Drew Doughty on Sunday, and while many believe he’s on track to build an unfavorable reputation throughout the league in his debut season, one franchise legend thinks otherwise.

Theo Fleury, the diminutive right winger that played 791 games for the Flames and amassed 1,088 points in his lengthy career, said he “loved” the play and thinks Tkachuk’s suspension will benefit him in the future.

“He’s smart,” Fleury told Sportsnet’s Mark Spector. “What he did the other night was, he sent a message to the entire league. Yeah, it cost him two games, but I’m sure it will benefit him down the road.

“The more room you get on the ice, the more you have to do the things you do best. By creating some unpredictability, you get more room.”

Fleury, listed at 5-foot-6, broke into the NHL in an entirely different era, when plays like Tkachuk’s were much more common. Yet, the 1989 Stanley Cup champion went as far as saying a current small and skilled Calgary winger should take notes.

Johnny Gaudreau needs to take a lesson from him,” Fleury said. “Johnny can be neutralized because of his size. If he were a little meaner with his stick and elbows, he might get a little more room out there.”

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