Brady Tkachuk loves hockey. Hockey brings his joy and that joy is passed on to his teammates on and off the ice. You can tell, even as a rookie, that he’s one of the most popular players on the team. Even if he was a mucker and grinder, he’d still be extremely popular. He has the skills that a lot of the smaller, quicker players have except he’s got a frame that can accommodate more than the 196 pounds he is now all 6-3 of him causes a lot of problems for opposing defenseman in the crease.
The youngest Tkachuk has been on fire since he’s back from injury. In his two-goal, three-point performance against the Philadelphia Flyers, he opened a lot of eyes. Most knew he was a good player, but they finally got to see him 100% healthy again scoring one powerful crease goal and the other a deflection.
“I didn’t see it. To be honest, “said Tkachuk. “Guys were playing hard out there. We knew it was going to go our way. We believed in it and we trust the process. It was a big win for us.”
He helped engineer a comeback. He took six shots in the game and took other verbal and physical shots and Robert Hagg and Radko Gudas that all helped the Ottawa Senators grab the momentum what could have been a lost game down 3-1 heading into the third period. As far as him getting under the skin of opposing teams he said, “I don’t try to. It’s part of the game.” He had a big smile on his face while answering that question.
His nine goals and 16 points in 14 games is exceptional. You don’t need a full statistical breakdown to see he skates well, he’s physical, and he wears opponents down with his mouth and his offensive skill.
Teammate Dylan DeMelo, sporting a 70’s stache, asked Tkachuk, with the butt end of a stick (pretending to be a microphone) about the ten cookies he eats before the game.
“The cookies pre-game is a big part of my routine and I had a scoop of ice cream with that.”
Players like Tkachuk are hard to find. His dad Keith scored 538 in his distinguished NHL career. Brady plays with more skill and finesse. That’s not to say he’ll get over 500 goals it’s just a sign of the times, an upgrade in that type of coveted player that all teams want. Matt Duchene, who scored the game-winning goal, loves playing with the rookie and said he plays a similar game to a former Colorado Avalanche teammate.
“He brings something that’s a little different. I don’t think we had a power forward like that on this team. When we drafted him that was something I was excited about. To have a guy like that. I played with a guy like that in Colorado, it was Gabriel Landeskog. I told him they were very similar players before the game.”
Can Tkachuk get in the Calder race? He already is.