Return of Chucky: Tkachuk and the Florida Panthers take on the ...

19 Dec 2023
Florida Panthers

Matthew Tkachuk is playing against the Calgary Flames for the third time since being traded and his record is 0-2.

Monday night marks his second visit to the Scotiabank Saddledome, and Tkachuk says it's a bit different this time around.

"Last year, it all happened really fast, it was back to back," Tkachuk said.

"This year, we had yesterday and we have tonight and then we leave tomorrow, so there's a few more nights in the city. 

"It's good to be back and see some of the old familiar faces and places, and just a lot of great memories here… and it will always be fun to come back."


Tkachuk has no regrets about landing in Florida. 

He's exactly where he wants to be.

The Panthers have had a lot of success since Tkachuk was traded there for Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, a first round draft pick and prospect Cole Schwindt.

The Panthers made it all the way to the Stanley Cup final last year before being beaten by the Vegas Golden Knights.

Tkachuk says that run in the playoffs has made him a lot more aware of what it's going to take to win it all.

"I now know what it takes to get there and be a part of a long playoff run and the grind and the rest, and  busting your ass for 60 minutes or maybe even longer and having a day and a half to do whatever it takes to recover so you can do it again.

"It's a crazy time, and to be honest, going into last year's playoff run, maybe I thought I knew what it was like, but I had no idea…. so now I do."


Tkachuk spent the first six years of his career with the Flames and says wouldn't trade that for anything. 

Despite that, he says he's also enjoying his new chapter in Florida.

Tkachuk says he's gotten the best of both worlds.

"I feel like I've had a perfect – other than winning a Stanley Cup, which hopefully we can get very soon –set up. Getting to play in Canada and getting to play in this great city and now in Florida."


Huberdeau and Weegar face their former team for the third time.

Huberdeau says he would love to go 3-0 against his former team.

"It's always a little more special than other teams, but I think it's more special playing in their building than here," he said.

"Obviously, it's a team that I was with for a long time, so it's always a little more special, but we've got to come out for a win for us."


Weegar says he gets fired up for all games, not just the ones against his former team.

He says it's all about moving up in the standings.

"It's the NHL, it's easy to get up for a game, it's easy and it's fun," he said.

"The confidence is going, and the team's kind of buzzing, and it's also a big game for everybody. 

"We're trying to hunt for that wildcard spot. I don't just treat it like any other game, I treat it like we need two points for a wildcard spot and we're still in the hunt here."

On Monday, Jacob Markstrom makes his return to the lineup after fracturing a finger in practice and will start against the Panthers. 

Chris Tanev will also make his return to the lineup.  

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