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Tkachuk: Hatred for Oilers not the same as with Flames

Andy Devlin / National Hockey League / Getty

Florida Panthers star Matthew Tkachuk is excited to renew hostilities with the Edmonton Oilers in the Stanley Cup Final but conceded he doesn't hate the club like he used to as a member of the Calgary Flames.

"I don't know. I wouldn't say that," Tkachuk told's Tom Gulitti in response to whether he sustained the same level of disdain for the Oilers. "But anytime you're playing any opponent in the Stanley Cup Final, you don't even have to have a team rivalry or any rivalry with them. Right when the puck drops, it's going to be very intense like you've had that rivalry a few years."

"It's the Stanley Cup Final, so much on the line, so I'm sure the teams will go after it pretty good early, and I'm sure both teams really, really want this."

Tkachuk was front and center in the Battle of Alberta during his six years in Calgary, and the two clubs engaged in a memorable second-round playoff series months before he was dealt to the Panthers.

As former public enemy No. 1 in Edmonton, Tkachuk recognizes how big the stage will be north of the border as the Oilers return to the Cup Final for the first time since 2006.

"It's a great environment to play in up there. They're all into it," he said. "It's really probably the biggest thing to happen in Canada in 30 years or whatever. ... They've been waiting for it for 20 years, so I'm sure it's going to be a great atmosphere."

Tkachuk has been a vital part of Florida's success this postseason, leading the club with 19 points in 17 games.

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