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Zack Kassian snaps on Matthew Tkachuk, throws punches in wild attack

(The Department of Player Safety announced that Zack Kassian will face a Monday hearing.)

Just, wow. Zack Kassian absolutely lost his mind on Matthew Tkachuk during Saturday’s 4-3 Flames win over the Oilers. While many probably responded with “understandable” at losing your cool at Tkachuk, Kassian responded to the pest in an extreme way.

Yes, even for Tkachuk, whose pesty play borders on Kaufman-like troll art.

[Speaking of trolling, they exchanged serious trash talk after the game.]

The first hit

“The Battle of Alberta” often brings the heat, and Saturday appears to be a prime edition.

Tkachuk set the stage for Kassian rage with this first hit, which certainly qualifies as questionable:

From here, it looked like Tkachuk made contact with Kassian’s head, but there was no penalty. Maybe that made Kassian even angrier? Really, a long game of Tkachuk jawing and having that freaking mouthpiece hanging out would be enough to wear on even the Zen-like among us.

Another Tkachuk hit, and then lots of Kassian punches

So here’s where things really got out of hand.

Tkachuk leveled Kassian with yet another aggressive check, and that was enough. Kassian responded with a stunning flurry of violence on Tkachuk that you really need to see to believe. He even ragdolls Tkachuk during that attack. Watch it, probably with your jaw dropped, in the video above this post’s headline.

Again: wow.

Optics-wise, you’d think that Kassian might see supplemental discipline. That was an epic meltdown, one where the “fight” seemed like it should be over at least once.

While time will tell if the NHL decides to suspend Kassian at some point, the gritty winger put the Oilers in a tough spot. Kassian received a misconduct, but most importantly, a double-minor for roughing late in the second. The Flames began the third period with a golden opportunity, and took a 4-3 lead early in the final frame of regulation.

Say what you will about Tkachuk, he finds a way to get under the skin of his opponents. Even if Kassian avoids supplemental discipline, he already made a mistake.

What do you think should result from Kassian’s actions? Should Tkachuk receive supplemental discipline for his questionable hit(s)?

Also, what’s the perfect soundtrack for the slow-motion footage? No, “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher” doesn’t really work here, in my opinion.

Final question: does Kassian despise Tkachuk more than Drew Doughty now? Lofty stuff.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.