Since entering the league in October 2016, Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk has been a known agitator on the ice. From his physical forecheck to front-net presence, he’s established himself as one of the best players in the league at getting under an opponent’s skin — including the Kings veteran defenseman, Drew Doughty.
On The Athletic’s “Point Breakaway” podcast, the Kings’ Ben Hutton discussed the team’s 2019 Secret Santa exchange in which he poked fun at Doughty.
In the holiday spirit, a time when people put their differences aside, Hutton asked Tkachuk if he would sign a hockey stick for Doughty, two longtime nemeses. The Flames winger, of course, loved the idea.
“I got our trainers to do it,” Hutton said on the podcast. “We were flying to Calgary [in early December] when we were doing it [the Secret Santa gift exchange], so it just clicked in my head. I asked our trainers, and once they told Chucky who it was for, he was all for it.”
Hutton’s revelation would be news for Doughty, who was never able to crack anybody on the team to cough up the name of who gifted him a hockey stick from his rival.
“I might be ruining it saying this because he [Doughty] still doesn’t know it’s me,” Hutton said. “It was signed by him and everything. I wrote a little message on it. He [Doughty] was going around the locker room trying to figure out who it was.
“None of the boys were snitching on me so that was pretty good.”
2016-17: The beginning of the rivalry
Doughty and Tkachuk’s feud began in March 2017 when the Flames rookie was hit for a two-game suspension for elbowing Doughty. The two met again 10 days later in Calgary and tempers were still piping hot.
Tkachuk attempted to lay a heavy open-ice hit on Doughty, but the veteran defenseman was able to avoid the hit.
2017-18: Verbal spars
In October 2017, the bad blood between the two reignited when Tkachuk got into a fight with Kings forward Dustin Brown. When Tkhauck entered the penalty box, he also entered a shouting match with Doughty.
2019-20: Rivalry intensifies
Two years later, Doughty led the Kings to a thrilling 4-3 win in Calgary including scoring the game-winner in overtime.
After the game, Doughty said, “As much as I love getting booed every time I touch the puck, you kind of want to shove it in their faces.” The Kings’ assistant captain wanted to put the head-to-head battle to rest.
Tkachuk disagreed as he was readying for their next matchup 11 days later.
When told Drew Doughty wants to bury the hatchet with him, Tkachuk said: “I’m excited for Round Two in two weeks in L.A.”
— Kristen Anderson (@KdotAnderson) October 9, 2019
In the next meeting, Doughty checked Tkachuk on the boards with the Flames winger responding by taking the legs out underneath Doughty leading to a brawl between the two teams.
While Hutton’s gesture probably won’t bring the two rivals closer together, it certainly led to a great story in the end. We’ll see if Hutton receives any retribution for his “warm” gift to Doughty.