Huberdeau spoils Tkachuk’s return to Calgary

CALGARY | It is said that love and hate are often the two feelings of a passionate relationship. Returning to the Saddledome for the first time since the trade that made him move to the Panthers in July, Matthew Tkachuk understood this perfectly.

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Booed every time he touched the puck, the former Flames forward was warmly applauded when the team that drafted him in the first round (6e in total) from the 2016 Draft featured a tribute video during the first commercial break.

“They are passionate supporters. I have had many beautiful moments here. I wasn’t surprised by the boos. That’s the treatment that gets most of those who face their old team. I appreciated the tribute. Supporters stretched the applause somewhat. It was good of them. »

“It’s not like I need this game to finally close this chapter of my career. The chapter has been closed for quite a while. That said, it will always be fun to come back here to play games,” he added.

Tkachuk, who played 432 games in a Flames uniform, had a scoring opportunity in the first half of the opening third. He later visited the penalty box after serving a cross-check behind Nikita Zadorov.

Huberdeau, the first star

For the rest, the number 19 of the Panthers had a rather quiet evening. It was Jonathan Huberdeau, involved in the same transaction, who held the upper hand.

Author of a goal and an assist, on the goal of Tyler Toffoli, the Quebecer was credited with the first star of the game.

“I think there was a mark of respect for him. He played over 400 games for the Flames. He gave a lot for that observation,” said Huberdeau, once back in the locker room.

Huberdeau, whose first 10 seasons were played under the Florida sun, no doubt hopes that this evening will give impetus to his season. Compared to his last campaigns, he is having a rather quiet autumn. Before the Panthers visit, he had 10 points in his first 18 games.

One wonders if the enthusiasm generated by the return of Tkachuk to Calgary, and his own return to Florida, last week, did not weigh on his shoulders a little.

“I knew it would be emotional when I returned to Florida. When I was traded here this summer, it was definitely on my mind. But there, to play with the guys, and to win twice against the Panthers, it’s fun. »

“It will eventually unlock”

While waiting for the opening of the locker rooms, at the end of the meeting, colleagues assigned to the daily coverage of the Flames affirmed that Huberdeau had just experienced his best game since his arrival.

An analysis with which the main interested party did not seem entirely in agreement.

“Looks like I had no legs, but it clicked. I scored a lucky goal. There are passes that I usually do that I didn’t do tonight. At least I create a few things offensively. It will eventually unlock. »

A few weeks after acquiring him, the Flames offered Huberdeau an eight-year contract extension worth an average of $10.5 million per season.


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