Ahead of the much-anticipated Battle of Alberta rematch on Jan. 29, Matthew Tkachuk says he didn't carry any grudges into the All-Star Game.
"When it came down to it we're all there to have a fun time, and we all were enjoying each other's company," Tkachuk said to reporters on Monday, per TSN. "A bunch of really good guys honestly and I had a blast being around the rink. ... The fact that you can play as hard as we do for the whole year and for years and playoffs - a bunch of battles with each other - and you go there and it's like nothing honestly ever happened previous."
The Calgary Flames forward has earned a reputation in the league as an agitator and has riled up plenty of his opponents this year. After being involved in a skirmish with Edmonton Oilers forward Zack Kassian before the All-Star break, Kassian's teammate Leon Draisaitl joked that he'd get off the ice if he was put on with Tkachuk. Instead, Draisaitl and Tkachuk ended up combining to create a pretty nifty goal.
Although he's far from a fan favorite in Edmonton after his tactics led to a two-game suspension for Kassian, Tkachuk showed Oilers star Connor McDavid and the other All-Stars some love.
"Great guy (McDavid) honestly, being in the room with guys like him and the rest of the All-Stars, like I said earlier you forget about what's kind of going on. You're just there to have a good time with them and just talk hockey, talk life," Tkachuk said. "Being in the same room as him and some of the All-Stars, you're taken back a little bit and it's pretty cool to be there with them."
Tkachuk may be a nightmare for opponents to face during the regular season, but it seems as though any ill will toward him was put on pause during the weekend's festivities. The 22-year-old and his Pacific Division teammates won the 3-on-3 tournament and its $1-million prize.