Winnipeg manager Paul Maurice said Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk intentionally kicked the star center of the star Jets Mark Scheifele in the back of the leg, causing an injury that took Scheifele out of game 1 of the round series NHL qualification on Saturday evening.
In the first period, Tkachuk seemed to cut Scheifele’s left leg with his right skate, causing Scheifele to clumsily hit the boards. Scheifele fell on the ice, screaming in pain, and proceeded to roll around in the area, grabbing his left leg. He left the ice with the help of coaches. The Jets continued to lose 4-1.
“It was intentional,” said Maurice. “It was a dirty and dirty kick in the back of the leg. You can̵
Tkachuk, who went to speak with Scheifele while leaving the ice, received no penalty on the game.
“I don’t expect the referees to find him,” said Maurice. “You have to look at it later. And it’s grotesque.”
Prior to Maurice’s press conference, Tkachuk denied doing anything intentional to hurt Scheifele, causing an exasperated laugh when asked if he had a role in the injury.
“No, absolutely not,” said Tkachuk. “I am checking it again. It is such an accident. I felt bad. It was moving away, and I had just entered and my left skate had some speed swings. I was probably moving too fast for me and it was going down. It looked like my leg had probably stopped him.
“I feel terrible. He is one of the best NHL players and someone I have known in the last few summers [training with him]. It’s not good for gaming when someone like that isn’t in the game. It was very unfortunate and unfortunate. But there is really nothing that could happen. “
Captain Jets Blake Wheeler fought Tkachuk after the accident.
Scheifele, who shared the team’s lead in points with 73 in 71 games this season, played only 2 minutes, 59 seconds in defeat for Calgary. Striker Patrik Laine also left the game, appearing to have been cut on the hand. But Maurice said it wasn’t the cut that got him out. Both Scheifele and Laine will be reassessed by specialists on Sunday.
“We fought. There is no doubt,” said Maurice about the injuries.
The teams meet again on Monday afternoon in Edmonton, Alberta, the neutral site where the Western Conference postseason takes place in an empty arena.