Matthew Tkachuk is a bulldozer, and Jack Eichel learned that the hard way.
In Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Golden Knights and the Panthers, the hockey world was shocked by Matthew Tkachuk’s bone-crushing hit on Eichel. It’s not often we see two absolute superstars collide in the way they did, and when it happened, everybody was on the edge of their seats.
Eichel had the puck in his own zone and seemed to lose balance, and that’s when Tkachuk stepped up with the hardest hit this playoff. Eichel’s helmet went flying, and Eichel had to leave the ice for the remainder of the second period.
Tkachuk wasn’t penalized for the hit, but he was sent to the penalty box on a two-minute minor for roughing, and a 10-minute misconduct, for the following scrum.
Postgame, Jack Eichel called the hit clean and even blamed himself for the demolishing play. Afterward, the hit from Tkachuk has been the talk of the hockey world, with everyone weighing in with their opinions.
The Athletic have talked to current NHL stars, former players, and coaches about their views on the hit, and former Stars star and captain Mike Modano had the best thing to say about it, and we simply couldn’t agree more.
“Didn’t help that he (Eichel) toe-picked before he got hit. But it was a clean hit. Open-ice hits are nonexistent anymore, so when they do happen, everyone assumes it was a cheap shot. That hit happened 40 times in the ’99 playoffs.”
Former Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf had the same view as Modano on the hit.
“Good, hard hit!!! I have no problem with it. Think it’s a good time for a big hit to try and pump his team up. Didn’t go out of his way at all, just got him in a bad spot.”
Steven Stamkos, current captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning, agreed. But he claimed to be surprised that no one tried to retaliate against Tkachuk.
“It was a clean hit. Eichel was in an awkward position at the point of contact, but it was a good hockey hit in my eyes. Glad to see Jack back in the game. I was surprised no one went after Tkachuk, especially given the score of the game. But all is well for Vegas tonight, so a non-issue I guess.”