Matthew Tkachuk spent Saturday morning putting the spotlight where he likes it the most: on himself.
Frustrated with his team’s ongoing slide, the controversial Flames winger did well to set up Saturday night’s Battle of Alberta rematch with pointed criticism of himself.
“I’m putting all the pressure on myself to turn this thing around for us,” said Tkachuk, whose uninspiring play of late mirrors that of his team.
“It starts tonight and I’m prepared to do whatever I can. For me personally, I’ve got to get going. All the pressure should be on me to perform. It shouldn’t be on anyone else. I haven’t been at my best and it’s time to get going and help this team get some wins. I haven’t performed the way I’d like personally, so all the pressure should be on me to try to provide emotion from the drop of the puck tonight.”
Speaking on a Zoom call Saturday morning, Tkachuk gave the sort of speech generally reserved for captains or NBA stars. The goal was to try lighting a fire under himself and his team, while also trying to take some of the heat off his teammates.
Either way, it puts a heck of an onus on him to back up his words with actions as the nation watches.
And he won’t have Oilers adversary Zack Kassian in the lineup to help him with his cause.
“We’re going to make sure this is…